Coccinellidae

How many ladybirds have you seen this summer? I have only seen one and that was when it landed on my arm. Their decline has been blamed on changes to habitats and changes to the climate. In the same way as butterflies and moths have seen common species going into decline – we’re seeing the same thing happen with ladybirds. That is why I am going to try and grow even more plants to encourage these charming insects. Plants such as calendula, fennel, dill, chives, nasturtiums and mint.

One of the oddities of modern life – or perhaps just my life – is that I see more ladybirds in winter than I do in the garden in summer. That’s because they spend their winter months in our potting shed which has countless nooks and crannies where they can hide themselves. When the sun shines in through the window, warming the shed a little – they come out to have a fly around.

Every gardener knows that ladybirds are a good thing because they eat aphids (up to 50 a day each). And we all feel affectionate about them. The most common is the seven-spot but you may also see the two-spot, four-spot, ten-spot, sixteen, twenty-two or twenty-four spot versions. In total there are 46 species of British ladybird.

But however many spots they wear, ladybirds have such charm. It is partly to do with their red backs and black spots and also to do with their rounded shape.

Many cultures believe ladybirds come bearing luck and well-being. The brighter the red coat, the stronger the luck, and the number of black spots will be the number of months you’ll be blessed with lucky intervention.

It is said that if a ladybird lands on you, your wish will come true. Well I wish we will get to see more of these beautiful creatures.