Friday, February 12, 2016


About two weeks ago on a cold morning walk I stepped off the trail to watch a seasonal stream course over the rocks through a small meadow near the creek.  As I surveyed the meadow, I noticed a strange red coloration and bumpiness to tips of the dead reeds in the meadow.  As I bent closer to look, I realized what I was seeing was actually ladybugs, clustered tightly together on the top one to two inches of the reeds.

As I looked around, I realized that many of the reeds had ladybugs on them.

I got really excited when I noticed the large clusters of ladybugs under the leaves and hiding amongst the tufts of grass.  I suddenly realized that there were thousands upon thousands of ladybugs in this small meadow!

Some species of ladybugs while in their winter diapause state group together and cluster in sheltered spots until the weather warms and they can return to their aphid hunting grounds.  When it is cold, the ladybugs are completely still and sometimes covered with dew, frost or snow.

But when it warms, the ladybugs are in almost constant motion, only to be still again once it grows cold again overnight.  The motion surprised me, as it doesn't seem like there would be much purpose for it, and there is little food available for an insect that preys primarily on aphids and scale insects.

As you can probably imagine, we've been learning a lot about ladybugs around here!  We've added entries to our nature journals, read about them in the Handbook of Nature Study, and visited them many times.  We're all wondering how long they will stay and if we'll ever get to see this again.

If you'd like to see more ladybug pictures, as well as other daily life pictures, you can follow me on Instagram.  Thanks to Celeste's gentle encouragement, I've started sharing photos there and I'm enjoying it.  


  1. This is so neat to see! They must have crawled up to take advantage of the warmer weather. Ladybug flowers!

  2. This is so interesting! I remember seeing ladybugs in this state as a child (I was up around your elevation, actually, and it was around this time of year), but I didn't know what I was seeing -- I just thought it was strange that they were all huddled together and not moving. How cool! :)