Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

Ladybird Love

Last year I was bemoaning the absence of Ladybirds (Ladybugs) in my Spring garden. They did arrive for a short visit in late Autumn to  help deal with late season aphids on the roses, but we missed seeing them turn ‘Mother maple’ into their springtime nursery. So we were very excited when early last month we spotted this little creature…

I must remember that their arrival came with the early emergence of  the new leaves and tiny flowers of the Japanese maples (which the bees and hoverflies love too) in early October.

Japanese maple flower buds, we might miss noticing them, but the bugs don't!

Anyway the little ladybird soon had some close *ahem* friends…

Which led (eventually) to setting up home in the nursery tree. This ladybird is in the process of laying her eggs…

Much to my daughter’s disgust, ladybirds are not averse to eating each others eggs, which I think is what is going on here…

The ladybirds that have set up home amongst the maples in their hundreds this last month or so are Harmonia conformis or the Common Spotted Ladybird. They are a much-loved ‘good bug’ in our garden as they are quite partial to an aphid or two, or perhaps even three. There is a very similar looking ladybug that is found in other parts of the world (the Asian ladybug I think) and is considered to be a pest. Ours are definitely garden friendly.

We only spotted our first larvae tonight, after dark, so I’ll have to try to get a photo in the next few days. Seeing the next stage, when the fully formed ladybirds emerge is a treat too, so I’ll be looking out for pictures of that to share when the time comes.

The only other ladybird I’ve spotted so far this season (and have only seen one example of) is, I think, Illeis galbulaor or The Fungus-eating ladybird.

I almost forgot to say, sorry for the long absence…I won’t bore you with the details 😉

Happy Gardening,

Heidi

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Comments on: "Ladybird Love" (26)

  1. Heidi — Fabulous pictures! They are among my favorite creatures. Thank you for sharing! Lesley

  2. Welcome back! Congratulations on your new resident ladybirds too. I remember your aphid woes, and hopefully once these eggs hatch you’ll have a little more help on the aphid control front. Hopefully you have some aphid-eating Syrphid (Hover) Flies too! 🙂

    • Hello Clare 🙂 We do indeed have the help of some wonderful hoverflies and parasitic wasps too…so the aphids don’t really stand a chance. Now I’m a little worried that the ladybird larvae may not have much to eat!

  3. Glad you are back. Hope all is well? Brought Melianthus flowers in to the kitchen to put in a vase. Am still rescuing tiny ladybirds there ;>)

    • Hello Diana! I am well thanks….just an ‘interesting’ patch of life is all! I can relate to rescuing ladybirds…I walked into the house from the garden last night only to discover I had a little larval ladybird sitting on my shoulder!

  4. There is love in your garden’s air…

  5. Hello Tatyana – there is certainly something in the air…we have very busy bugs of all varieties out there at the moment!

  6. Welcome back, Heidi; and it’s nice to see that your ladybirds have returned, too. I’m also loving the new leaves emerging on your maple tree just as ours are all falling off. 🙂 -Jean

  7. Glad you’re back and posting again (hope all is well). Love the shots of the ladybirds, even if they’re being somewhat promiscuous. 🙂

  8. Hi Jodi – yes all is well thanks 🙂
    They are really quite amazingly promiscuous little critters! Still, leads on to lots more little ladybirds, so it’s good to see!

  9. I didn’t know that maple trees were ladybird havens. I have three or four out the front, I am going to examine them tomorrow to see if I have ladybirds or eggs.

  10. What great photos … Ladybirds are something we don’t get to see much of around here. You’re so lucky to spot these beautiful creatures … I so enjoyed the close-up look at these garden visitors.

  11. Dear Heidi, In England (where I am from) we call them ladybirds; in America (where I live) we call them ladybugs. I much prefer ‘ladybirds’ having be raised on the rhyme ‘Ladybird, ladybird fly away home.’ I am glad they flew to your house. Fascinating pictures. Pam x

    • Hello Pam, we use both ‘ladybird’ and ‘ladybug’ here. I have to keep checking that I’m not swapping from one to the other throughout a post! But I do like that rhyme too and tend to use ‘ladybird’ for preference!

  12. Yay, Heidi is back! So glad to see you and hope all is a.o.k. in your life.

    Yay, Heidi’s ladybugs are back! And it looks like they are ready to turn into perpetual guests, a gardener’s favorite kind. We have Asian ladybugs here, too, competing with the local version, but so far as I know both are a gardener’s friend. (Maybe our conditions aren’t right to render the Asian version a pest?)

    Loved the post. I had to giggle at the “close friends” caption. 😉

    • Oh Meredith, sorry for the late reply! Just when I thought everything was settling down life goes up in the air again!

      Interesting to read that the asian ladybugs are not a problem for you…I’m wondering if it is the conditions in Britain that throws things out of balance, as it is material I’ve read from there that most often seems to refer to them as an invasive pest.

  13. Great pictures. There’s nothing as satisfying – in a gruesome sort of way – as watching ladybugs settle in to a meal of aphids on one of your favorite plants.

  14. Hi Heidi – how exciting! What a wonderful find. I was eagerly waiting the ladybugs arrival this year to deal with an epic aphid problem and it was incredibly exciting when I saw my first. I have no idea where ours reproduce though – you’re very lucky (and diligent!) to be able to watch the whole process. 🙂 Keep us posted.

  15. Glad you are back. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. jim and pat

  16. Heidi — Best wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year!! –Shyrlene

  17. Hey there Heidi.. just came by to say ‘hi’ and see what you were up to. Drop me a line sometime (or heck, put up a post here!) and let me know whats going on :)!

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