Every year about this time the Ladybird beetles (a.k.a., Ladybugs) swarm over Boulder. I first noticed ladybug swarming on the top of our local peaks so I hiked up to Green Mountain on July 12th to observe. Sure enough I was rewarded with the following sight…
Yes, those are ladybugs swarming on the trunk of a tree. I’m trying to figure out what they are up to but I haven’t been able to find a compelling explanation. I do know that this has been a record year for insects because of our unusually wet spring and early summer. I also know that these little beetles stuff themselves with aphids at this time of the year. Nevertheless, they don’t seem to be eating nor making love so what are they doing? I’ll keep looking. More information about the ladybug swarms can be found at blogs called The Nature Files and Berkeley,Naturally!
Some facts about ladybugs:
-Coccinellids are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described, more than 450 native to North America alone.
-In North America the multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) was introduced in the twentieth century to control aphids on agricultural crops.
-Once the aphids are gone ladybugs will eat other garden pests making them very popular with eco-gardeners.
-In some cultures they are referred to as lucky bugs (Turkish: uğur böceği).
-Coccinellids are and have for very many years been favorite insects of children. Remember the nursery ryhme:
Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one, and that’s Little Anne
For she has crept under the warming pan.