Good job, ladybird!

I’m having a bit of a gardening spree today! Clearing up odd jobs, such as repotting okra and sowing cauliflower for overwintering….

Whilst taking a break just now, I noticed a sparrow hopping about the branches of the apple tree. It also appeared to pecking at something, hopefully not an apple, so I went to investigate.

Good the apples seem intact. And the branches are growing, producing new leaves beyond the ones damaged by aphids in the spring. There is some new aphid damage but then I saw a ladybird on one of the leaves. So no aphids on that one!

image

The ladybird cleaning up the apple tree

This ladybird has a different colour from one I’ve ever seen in England before: black with little bits of orange. I have heard of these but am nonetheless a little surprised, and glad as well that it is helping me and I am doing my bit to save it as a species.

© Helen Butt, July 2014

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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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20 Responses to Good job, ladybird!

  1. Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Lovely update thank you for sharing Helen

  2. There is always something new to discover in the garden, isn’t there? The birds like to peck at the sunflower leaves. They always start with the bottom leaves first, then move up. I’m not sure why, and really should read up on this.

  3. mybrightlife says:

    I have such a problem with aphids and my lemon tree…any good solutions?? Clearly there are not enough ladybirds in my garden!

    • I tried spraying water which I’d boiled rhubarb leaves in on my apple tree but it was after the aphid attack so a bit late really – ie it didn’t work. However, there are now nettles growing near the tree and ladybirds like them, which is why the ladybird might have appeared. Other than that though I haven’t got an answer.

      I hope your lemon tree isn’t badly affected.

  4. streepie says:

    Your lady bird looks to me like a two spot ladybird (Adalia 2-punctata) – they come in two colour morphs. Orange with two black spots, or black with orange spots, with black legs (in both forms)

    Oh – and there is currently a survey on the distribution of this species (with is threatened by a non-native species, the Harlequin ladybird). You might want to submit your sighting – see here
    http://www.opalexplorenature.org/TwospotLadybird

    Have fun in the garden, and yes, the lady bird likes the nettles. Too tidy a garden is not a good thing for local wildlife!

  5. I’m not 100% certain but I think the yellow and black ladybirds have come over and are killing off the red and black ones that we usually see. Having said that, they still eat aphids. I use a spray made up of garlic and soap water to control aphids but I read the other day that even this can be harmful to the good critters such as ladybirds. It’s hard being organic sometimes.

    • Yes, it is hard being organic sometimes. That said, non-organic methods would be even more harmful…..
      A shame if our red and black ladybirds are being killed off by another ladybird 😦 I wonder if that is why I see so few of these nowadays?

      • streepie says:

        Yes, that’s exactly why you see so few “british” ladybirds – they have to compete with the larger Harlequin Ladybird (which is from Asia) for the same resources – i.e. the same food. It essentially takes the food away from the indigenous (native) species, and sometime eats native ladybirds and their larvae. It is also immune to some of the diseases the native species have.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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