You’re Bugging Me! *Video*

Ladybugs on a stick, photo bo Go Erin GoI just read the book Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (not too bad…) which just sort of fueled my already fairly heated desire to see the butterfly migration that occurs every year in Mexico.

But I just found out that the butterflies also migrate to the California coast, so instead of hopping a plane, I can drive a few hours and still get my fix. Cool!

But that’s butterflies. Today it’s all about ladybugs.

Who: The proper name for ladybug is Coccinellidae and they are a type of beetle. They come in all colors—red, yellow, orange, brown.

Some ladybugs have spots, some don’t. The number of spots don’t change over their lifetime, but they can fade (like my freckles). The spots a ladybugs is born with are the spots she keeps.

Ladybugs live about a year and can lay up to 1,000 eggs. And by the way, a boy ladybug is still called a ladybug.

What: Like butterflies, ladybugs migrate and last weekend I set out with a few friends to find their colonies.

Naturalist Linda Yemoto explains why millions (Did she say 40 million?!) ladybugs come to the Northern California redwoods to spend the winter. Here she chats about our local ladybug phenomenon:

Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Ladybug Pajama Party

Where: Here in the Bay Area, ladybugs converge in the Oakland Hills, specifically at Redwood Regional Park. My friends Sue and Amanda and I found two groupings, one large and one small, right off the Steam Trail on the northern slope that is exposed to more sun.

This map from The Ladybug Hotel will lead you right to ‘em.


But you don’t need to live in Cali to observe ladybug migrations since they occur across the U.S. Here’s a map of where ladybugs tend to congregate.


Why: Ladybugs can’t fly when the temperature drops below 55 degrees F. So when they migrate and the temperature drops, they descend from the sky. Where they land is where they hibernate for the winter.

Ladybugs on a log, close up, photo by Go Erin GoHow: Want to help chart ladybug migration? Cornell University has a Lost Ladybug Project where you can help document ladybug species.

This is important because there are about 5,000 different species of ladybugs (more than 300 in the U.S.), but non-native ladybugs are being introduced and in some cases taking over.

To participate:

  1. Find some ladybugs
  2. Take a photo
  3. Upload images to the database


The Lost Ladybug Project site has all kids of field guides and detailed instruction to help you out. I’m going to upload my photo this weekend!

Now, bug off.

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 19th, 2014 and is filed under North America.

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