The Way I See Things



Pushed for time today, and with the weather having returned to cold, dank gloom, I whizzed out into the garden and quickly found this tiny 22-spot ladybird in the honeysuckle where it will have overwintered. It wasn't thrilled at being collected, placed on an old log and photographed, but I didn't detain it for long before returning it to its home.

In summer these 3-4mm ladybirds can be found on pretty much any plant that develops the powdery mildew on which they feed. They're said to favour hogweed, ragwort, and creeping thistle, as well as oak and birch trees, but in our garden I most often find them on honeysuckle. They overwinter in low vegetation or leaf litter, though they can be active during mild spells. In the spring they will mate, and the female will lay eggs in batches on the leaves of likely food plants: the larvae, which are yellow and black, are also fungivorous.

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