This morning Tigger pointed to something on the bedroom wall. It looked like this (photo taken later):

Harlequin ladybird 1
Harlequin ladybird 1

She tried to catch it on a piece of paper but it was too lively and fluttered away.

Later, while I was getting ready to go out (more about that later), it reappeared, this time on the bed. I managed to photograph it twice before it fluttered away. Here is the second picture:

Harlequin ladybird 2
Harlequin ladybird 2

Pretty as they may be, Harlequins are a problem. They are not British, you see, but dastardly foreign ladybirds. They compete with the native species to the latters’ disadvantage. It’s the story of the grey squirrel overwhelming the red squirrel all over again.

I don’t know why we have been favoured by this visitation, about the third we have experienced. You would not think that darkest Islington was a good place for ladybirds of any kind, native or foreign, especially in this cold weather, but the evidence speaks for itself.

I did two things. The first was to catch the ladybird in a tissue and put it outside. Plenty of people will blame me for not stepping on it but you probably know by now my no-kill policy.

The second was to report the sighting, with photos, to The Harlequin Ladybird Survey. This helps build up a picture of the scale and extent of what many regard as an infestation. What, if anything, can then be done about it is another matter.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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2 Responses to Harlequin

  1. Reluctant Blogger says:

    I have plagues of these. They come in through the vents in our windows. It is not uncommon for me to turf them out and then for there to be 30 or 40 again the next day. I can smell them the minute I enter a room.

    My son collects them up in a little pot and puts them outside. He won’t kill them either. It is probably the same 40 who keep coming back!

    I rarely see native ladybirds round here anymore.

    • SilverTiger says:

      I think if and when we start finding 40 of them, I’ll invest in one of those vacuum tubes for picking up insects!

      Maybe the trick is to take them some distance from the house before releasing them.

      Perhaps we need to make a special effort to conserve native ladybirds. When we were in Bournemouth, there was a wooded area near a bus stop that we called Ladybird Dell because there were so many of them. Perhaps we need to set up more ladybird dells knowingly.

      Once harlequins are better understood, it may be possible plan a strategy to limit their expansion.

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