Friday, 3 June 2011

June Bug

Everybody's favourite little bug. Pretty, spotty, cheery red, great for munching garden pests and perfect for getting children interested in insects. The ladybird is a dainty but voracious creepy crawly and me and Little Bird spent some time hunting for them on a glorious sunny day.

Ladybird mosaic

We looked at books about them, pointing at the pictures and counting black spots. I introduced him to a set of vintage books well known in every household and thought how useful these will be when he starts to learn to read.

We crawled in our bug tent and trampled around the back garden, searching under leaves, between blades of grass and around crumbling log piles - a must in every garden to encourage mini-beasts to set up camp. Plenty of toys capitalise on this friendly beetle so we checked out the play cupboard too. There is of course an old nursery rhyme to sing:

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one, and that's Little Anne
For she has crept under the warming pan.

We found plenty of 7-spots, the most common, although there are others. In fact, 46 species in the UK. The Woodland Trust have a great series of ladybird fact sheets:

As my little boy gets older I will love to teach him more about the ladybird; its lifecycle, what they eat and how they fit into the environment. I studied ecology so it's most important to me that he grows up having an understanding about the balance of nature.

We try to make our garden insect friendly: leaving a small patch of nettles tucked into the back corner so Little Bird won't fall in them, twig piles for hiding in, leaving the clearing up of dying vegetation in autumn so that there are warm cosy places to hibernate. A great excuse to not be too tidy in the garden. That suits me.


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