Ladybirds 2010

When I arrived home from my after-dinner Buzzing! show at York Racecourse yesterday, I was delighted to be greeted by this sight:

First ladybird of the year, 4 March 2010, by Anneliese Emmans Dean
First ladybird of the year, 4 March 2010, by Anneliese Emmans Dean

My first 7-spot ladybird of the year! I duly noted this sighting at Nature’s Calendar, where I have been recording such sightings since 2005. My records there show that the earliest I had seen a 7-spot was in 2007, when I saw one on the first day of the year. The latest was in 2008, when I didn’t see one until 27 March.

If you don’t already record your sightings at Nature’s Calendar, I recommend the site to you – both for your own interest, and for the importance of your data to scientists nationwide. It’s very simple to do, and you can choose to record sightings of different insects, birds, flowers, trees and amphibians.

And whilst we’re on the subject of ladybirds in York, I was interested to hear a local ladybird story from a lady in the audience of my lunch-time show yesterday. She told me about an infestation of what I took to be harlequin ladybirds in her neighbour’s house by the river Foss in York. That’s the first I’ve heard of harlequins appearing in such numbers in York. I hope it’s not a taste of things to come … (You’ll recall I spotted my first harlequin ladybirds in York in 2007 – read all about it.)

Back to my lovely 7-spots. It looks like spring is on its way now that they’ve reappeared. (I spotted two in the same bush yesterday.)  And not before time, after all this cold and snow we’ve had this winter! Now then, I wonder when I’ll see my first 2-spot and 22-spot ladybirds …

Anneliese Emmans

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