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.