The Harlequin Ladybird,




dec-harlequin-nnNovember in the parish saw an invasion although you might not have noticed it. The Harlequin Ladybird, which only arrived in Britain in 2004, is now well-established over most of Britain, even having been spotted as far north as the Shetlands. Less common in Scotland and North and Mid Wales it is very common in South Wales and during November would have found its way into many buildings if a window was left open. Whilst they are generally harmless to humans they are a major threat to our native species. With huge appetites, once they have run out of aphids to eat they move on to the eggs and larvae of other ladybirds as well as moths and butterflies. In the 1980s it was introduced to North America to help to control aphids on crops but quickly became the dominant species. Its introduction here was probably accidental. It took the Grey Squirrel 100 years to colonise Britain, the Harlequin just 10. Whilst they are bigger than our native ladybirds they come in a huge range of colours and patterns, the one featured in the photo being a common form spotted in both the Village Hall and Community Centre last month. You can help by reporting sightings to the Ladybird Survey – – where you will find a lot more information on what they look like and where they have been seen.