Ladybird, Ladybird Fly Away Home

Please click on this link to read my June 2017 “Nature Notes” in the Herts Advertiser: Nature Notes – 15th June 2017

Featured image of a ladybird by Steve Round

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A Harlequin Ladybird – photo by Rupert Evershed

 

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4 thoughts on “Ladybird, Ladybird Fly Away Home

  1. Non-native species can be a real problem as they often have no natural enemies. Numbers can quickly expand, upsetting the balance of nature. But the Harlequin has quickly endeared itself with the public, because of its attractive appearance and its habit of overwintering in people’s homes. Last year it really impressed me by developing a taste for asparagus beetle grubs. Left unchecked, these grubs can devastate the asparagus crop on my allotment each Spring. Until now the only effective control method has been squashing them by hand. The Harlequins ate most of the asparagus beetle grubs in quick time. An interesting case of one introduced species becoming a predator on another!

    • That’s fascinating – thanks for sharing! I’m convinced that many of the solutions we seek for problems already exist in nature. I think sometimes we just have to watch and see what happens.

      • “Rupert,

        I agree that\’s true in some circumstances. Horse chestnut leaf miner is a good example of an alien introduction everyone was concerned about a few years back, ruining our confer trees by turning their leaves brown. One horse chestnut near me was felled as it was deemed unsightly. The moth spread like the plague and was all over England within three years of being spotted. But now nature is rebalancing and I\’ve received several reports of tits, particularly long tailed tits hoovering up the moths.

        On the other and we have species such as Oak Processionary Moth, established in London a few years back which are potentially hazardous to humans and oak trees which should be controlled. The 2 key questions are whether control is really necessary and how it is carried out – spraying to eradicate one species can harm a who.e lot of native species. Happy to discuss

        Malcolm

        Malcolm Hull Chair Butterfly Conservation – Herts & Middx Branch

  2. Hi Malcolm, sorry – I realised I never replied to your last comment

    I must admit to being fairly new to the ‘invasive species’ debate having first encountered it when crayfishing with my son locally. Our poor native white-clawed crayfish seems doomed and having listened to the efforts being made to conserve it the inevitable question in my mind was ‘Is it worth it?’ Especially since, waiting in the wings, a whole host of far more potent and resilient crayfish threatened further changes. It does raise the whole question of our role as humans and perhaps the difference between preservation and conservation. I must admit I lean towards the theory that nature finds a way forward but there is a niggling worry that that might sometimes come at too high a cost for us as humans – be it physical or emotional.

    I was part way through reading a book called ‘The New Wild – Why invasive species will be nature’s salvation’ but had put it down. I am now prompted to finish reading it as it is full of examples from around the world of invasive species.

    I did come face to face with the battle last year when I (unusually) went on a ‘twitch’ to try and see a Great Spotted Cuckoo on Portland Bill. The bird had been feeding voraciously on what I think was Brown-tail Moth caterpillars. Though I didn’t ultimately see the bird I did see a local resident with flame-gun in hand working his way around the bushes and burning off the caterpillars webs! It felt strange that the food source which had kept the rare Cuckoo in one spot entertaining the birding crowds for so long was actually a local pest!

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