This is the question I’ve been asking myself lately.
I’ve noticed more ladybirds than ever in my garden this year. They’ve popped up all over the place – in pots, under the bin lids, on doorframes, in the house, and – thankfully – on my plants, presumably feasting on any pests which would dare to come their way. It’s no coincidence that I’ve barely noticed a single greenfly since the spring.
They seemed particularly happy perching in and around the sunflower heads, especially the slightly dried-and-curled-up faded flowers which must give them plenty of nooks and crannies in which to hide.
They also – strangely – took to congregating in the multiple hose head thing which I installed to try and keep the plants watered while we were on holiday. I’ve no idea why this was an attractive place to gather, but each time I looked in there were at least half a dozen piled into it.
So, as the season has changed and the temperature’s dropped, I’ve been asking myself what’s going to happen to the ladybirds now? Many of them still seemed to be hiding out in my faded sunflowers, and I needed to cut these down – but I didn’t want to disturb them or compost their winter hideaway. And I don’t have a bug hotel in my garden which I could encourage them to populate instead.
Apparently they do hibernate for the winter in various types of sheltered spots – tree bark, leaf litter etc. They like crevices, leaves, bark, often low down. So, having spent some time clearing the raised beds today, I did cut down the sunflowers, but took the heads of the flowers off first with a short section of stem and have piled them, and their little ladybird occupants, in a sheltered corner. Hopefully the ladybirds will make themselves cosy there for the winter or can crawl away to the many trees and piles of leaves nearby which might make a more suitable winter holiday home.
I certainly hope they will wake up and return in the spring – it’s been a real joy to have a loveliness of ladybirds sharing my garden this year.