I was sloshing through a back channel of the river filled with green scum, slippery rocks and a single tadpole. Not much to see. Then a familiar sight — a ladybug, its bright colours popping against the grey rock.
Ladybugs are aphids’ worst nightmare. Back in 1950s America the figuring went: since we’re losing crops to aphids and the local guys can’t do the job, let’s bring in the big guns.
So they imported the seven-spot from Europe and Asia. In huge numbers. Many times between 1951 and 1971. But the efforts didn’t take. An ironic twist? Seems like a population accidentally got established in New Jersey and from there spread across North America. What a trip.
Seven-spot — “C-7” to its friends — is now one of the most common ladybugs in Canada and the US. (One, two, three … yup, seven black spots.)
Unfortunately such deeds seldom go unpunished. Seven-spot has displaced many native ladybugs and is now considered invasive.
It wasn’t food that brought this C-7 down to the water — no plants, no aphids. Maybe she just needed a day at the beach.
Ladybugs aren’t bugs at all. They’re beetles. But they ‘re cute as a bug so let’s leave it at that.
Seven-spot ladybug Coccinella septempunctata