Dr. Helen Roy Blogs

Writing for the Natural Environment Research Council news website, PlanetEarth online, Dr Helen Roy writes about non-native species with a particular emphasis on ladybirds.

The Great Autumn Ladybird Invasion

As ladybirds crawl into our homes for the winter, we are calling for more photos to be sent in to the Survey. Both harlequins and 2-spots like to spend the winter months in buildings - often together in large numbers. Sending in records of these two species will help us track the harlequin ladybird invasion. It will also help us assess the magnitude of the 2-spot decline, which was reported across Europe this Summer.

More information

Mobile Phone Portal Launched

Ladybird recorders can now send in records via their mobile phones as part of a new partnership between the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and It is the first mobile portal in Britain for biological recording, enabling records to be sent in straight from the field or garden. The partnership is part of the relaunch of ladybird clothing, which is now available through the new website.

To send in a ladybird record via a mobile phone, simply text the word LADYBIRD to 83040 in order to receive a link that will allow you to upload your photos and data. Texts will be charged at your standard network rate. Internet browsing costs will be subject to your tariff but should not be more than 20pence. The option of sending in records through the website and mail will remain.

Summer Exhibitions

The Ladybird Survey teams are very excited to have been selected for the Royal Society Summer Exhibition. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to highlight the work of the surveys and the phenomenal contribution you have made by submitting records. If you are in London from 30th June to 4th July please come and visit us.

On Saturday 4th July we will also have a display at the Insect Festival in York

Ladybird Workshop at Dinton Pastures - 21 March 2009

A ladybird identification workshop is being run by The British Entomological and Natural History Society at Dinton Pastures Country Park, Hurst, Reading on Saturday 21 March (10.30 to 16.00). Please inform Dr. Ian McLean, BENHS Indoor Meetings Secretary, (E-mail: in advance to book your place.

A New Year's Resolution you can keep!

Here's a New Year's Resolution that's easy to keep - counting ladybirds on or close to January 1st!

If you have ladybirds spending the winter in your house, we are particularly interested to know how many harlequins and how many native 2-spot ladybirds (a much smaller species) there are; these two species tend to overwinter in buildings. The ladybirds are likely to be sheltering in the corners of rooms, or around window frames, particularly squeezed into the hinges, or in gaps alongside draught excluding material. Please count up the number of each species that you see.

Please log records of such counts by clicking on 'All species records from a site survey' at UK Ladybird Survey and put 'OVERWINTERING COUNT' in the Comments section. Thanks for your help!

The UK Ladybird Atlas needs YOU!

The UK Ladybird Survey team is compiling an atlas of British ladybirds and is calling upon you to submit your records. Historic or recent records of any ladybird species, from anywhere in the UK, will be gratefully received. This data will prove invaluable to our survey, which aims to monitor changes in abundance and distribution of British ladybirds, and keep a close eye on the impact of the invasive harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, on our native species. Monitoring ladybirds has never been more important and we need your records by the end of 2008 please!

Please either log records online at UK Ladybird Survey or send spreadsheets of records to:

Harlequin arrives in N. Ireland and Scotland

First verified records of the harlequin ladybird in N. Ireland and Scotland have recently been received. The Irish specimen arrived with produce from England and the Scottish ladybird appears to have been transported accidentally, also from England. Such mechanisms have undoubtedly led to a faster spread of the species in the UK.