The Harlequin ladybird appears to be moving into the south west of the UK in huge numbers now, having been fairly rare only five years ago. As the summer ends the adult ladybirds find somewhere to overwinter and apparently produce a pheromone that others Harlequins will follow to join them.
I opened up the door of our tool shed in the autumn and saw all of these (apologies for the poor focus):
Interesting that there are quite so many of the black variety. I hadn’t understood that they were so common.
However, I have to admit that I find myself in something of a dilemma. I know these ladybirds are a pest and our out-competing our own native ladybird species. On the other hand they have a voracious appetite for bugs and other bests that I really don’t want on my vegetables. I don’t like killing animals purely for doing what comes naturally (killing them to eat is another matter), but would it be a positive contribution to the welfare of our native species if I did just that? (And no, I’m not about to start eating ladybirds 🙂