Is is just me or is there a distinct lack of ladybirds about at the moment? I have looked around the garden, there are definitely aphids in the hazel and on the golden hop, which is the place I usually find lots of ladybirds or their larvae, but this year there are none. As many of you may know ladybirds are members of the beetle family, and are a true friend of the gardener, the adults and larvae both eat copious amounts of aphids as well as other pests such as mealy bugs.
I saw some earlier in the year, I dutifully recorded my sighting on the Nature’s Calendar website. I even took a picture of one of the little beetles a couple of months ago, but numbers seem to have dwindled since then. I did a quick google search, but cannot find any mention of a problem, only articles about the potential threat of the harlequin ladybird, but I haven’t seen any of those either.
For anyone interested in these helpful little beetles there is a website with lots more information which also runs a yearly survey of ladybird populations. There are apparently 46 different species believed to be resident in the UK, of which 26 are the focus of the survey. As I mentioned earlier, there is a great deal of concern about the presence of the harlequin ladybird in this country which is known to predate our own ladybirds. There is also a website which is running a survey to track the movement of this invader through the country.
I am becoming more and more concerned about the lack of insect life around here. We went for a walk to the Country Park yesterday, but, although there were quite a few bright blue damselflies, there were virtually no butterflies or bees, very few insects of any type were visible.
I know that there is concern that we no longer have a viable population of native bees, but is there a problem with all of our insects?