medium sized ladybird ( 6-7 mm) is very distinctive, having
orange elytra each with 8 (occasionally 7) white or cream spots.
is essentially a southern species, but since the late 1980's
it has been recorded with increasing frequency in Cumbria -
although it is still probably very much under-recorded.
most ladybird species, it does not normally feed on aphids,
but on powdery mildew. For this reason it is often found near
Sycamore trees, which provide both mildew and honeydew. However,
the specimen in the photo (above left) turned up in our bedroom!
We've also found it on the car in previous years.
winter, clusters with other Orange ladybirds are formed; occasionally
mixed clusters are found with other species of ladybird. In
mild winters the clusters may be found on the trunks of trees
(as in the above example from Howe Ridding NNR), but in colder
winters the clusters form on the ground in leaf litter. It is
possible that this species can predict the severity of a coming
winter and act accordingly.
same over-wintering sites are used in successive years, although
ladybirds do not survive two winters. It appears that something
draws the off-spring back to the same spot, possibly some chemical