A surprising autumn outbreak of God’s little chickens was visited upon my local park this week. And, by ‘God’s little chickens’, I mean ladybirds (the term is, I think, Chinese in origin). A stand of black iron railings beside a stand of oak trees was, quite literally, crawling with them.
Odd, that. Ladybirds normally pop out at the start of summer – but these seemed to have emerged from their pupal cases (many of which still adhered to the black iron) very recently.
I’m not sure which of the 53 (or 42 – my books don’t agree) British ladybird species these were (I hadn’t the time to count their spots, but each one had a lot of them: 10, 11, 12, perhaps?). It’s quite possible that these were in fact Harlequin ladybirds – also known as EVIL LADYBIRDS. These distasteful invaders were introduced from Asia in the 80s to control aphids, but they went and escaped (I know, I know – who could possibly have predicted that?).
Now they rove the land in gangs, eating our good old-fashioned English ladybirds, ruining soft furnishings, shitting everywhere and squirting ‘reflex blood’ from their pestilential joints when you try and squish them.
And, slowly but surely, they’re heading north. They’re coming our way!
This will not stand. We have our best people working on the problem.
I’m now a bit depressed about ladybirds, so here is a lovely picture – lovely unless you’re an aphid, or number aphids among your friends and relations.
Run for your life, aphid! Run for your life!