Little Lost Ladybugs
We wrote recently about the local Ladybug Invasion problems, but it seems certain ladybug species are not doing as well as others. If you guessed those dwindling in number here are the Eastern native ones and that the Western and Asian ones are thriving, you'd get a star from teacher. Seems like all I read about lately is Asian beetle this and imported disease that. Some day it'd be nice to read about an Eastern native plant or bug taking over the West Coast or Asia. Anyone have examples? Or are we Easterners just not made of the conquering stuff?
Back to the lost ladybugs... USDA’s ARS is seeking the public’s help looking for a few special bugs. The researchers are asking people to photograph every ladybug possible and then to send the photos to Cornell Univ. so they can inventory the insects. The scientists are particularly looking for rare species, such as the nine-spotted, two-spotted, and transverse lady beetles. The “Lost Ladybug Project” online allows participants to track and map the ladybug data.
Check out the advice on HOW to photograph your found ladybugs. In particular, they want you to "chill them" so they will be still for their close-up. They say: "Lady beetles can be chilled in a freezer safely for 5 minutes (over six may kill them) and this will quiet them for 2-4 minutes." I don't know about you, but that seems like it could go easily awry. I mean, a kid gets the bugs, pops them in the garage freezer, mom calls him in for dinner, then two days later the bugs are discovered a bit "over-chilled." Here's to hoping people can tell time accurately and that they don't get distracted mid-chilling.
My ladybug photo here was taken without the assistance of chilling, though note that these two they were part of a ladybug release party I attended last year so were pretty groggy, shook up, and hungover at this point when I took the shot.