Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Where do Ladybirds go in the winter?

Another fine and sunny January day here in Kent. It's on days like these that we start to let our imaginations run wild thinking that Spring may be on the way. A chill wind says otherwise though but still, the signs are there already.

So...where do Ladybirds go in the winter?
The answer in the case of the ones I've been seeing over and above any other species this winter is that they hibernate on fenceposts in great numbers.
I have a regular spot where I know I have seen this species hibernate for the past few years and they are there every year and always in the same place.
16-spot ladybird (Tytthaspis 16-punctata) is one of our smaller ladybirds at only 3mm and so is often overlooked.
They feed on pollen, nectar and fungi and as one of these is available throughout winter can be seen on sunnier days feeding. There is a melanic (black) form but it's rare.

As for the other species? Different species hibernate in different places.  Some shelter under tree bark, others sleep under leaf litter etc.

16-spot ladybird (Tytthaspis 16-punctata) 

7-Spot Ladybirds in hibernation.

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