Ladybirds are invading Greater Manchester - and everywhere else - why?

By Paul Britton

Spotted a sudden increase in ladybirds recently?

Have the little red insects been inside your house - or crawling around on your walls and windows outside?

Chances are you're not alone.

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For Greater Manchester - together with the rest of the country - appears to be experiencing a ladybird boom.

Reports on social media have revealed houses 'under siege'.

Usually they descend sometime between September and October - and it appears this week is the peak period for 2021.

The bugs will be aiming for small cracks around windows and doors to hibernate in, or any other warm spot to hide away over the cold months of winter.

Ladybirds on a house (Andy Scargill)

Experts have pointed to several reasons behind the sudden onset in numbers.

The recent warmer weather - which has followed a marked colder snap as autumn kicks in - has meant labybirds have been much more active than usual.

There's also said to be currently more bugs for them to eat - due to mating patterns.

Tamas Papp, lead keeper of lower vertebrates and invertebrates at Chester Zoo, said the country was 'running about a month behind with our seasons' this year.

He told the Manchester Evening News : "People may have noticed more ladybirds around this time of year than usual, and there are a few reasons for that.

"Usually, around this time of year, we'd see ladybirds go into hibernation, but because of the warm weather we've seen recently, they've been much more active than usual.

"We're running about a month behind with our seasons this year after a very long and cold spring, so with the warm weather comes much more activity.

Experts have revealed the reasons behind the explosion in numbers (Publicity Picture)

"Some animals that would go into hibernation are flying around and looking for food.

"For this time of year, there does seem to be more ladybirds than usual, as there are high numbers of the bugs that they eat as these bugs mate during the summer, so the numbers are high at the end of the season.

"We'd expect to see ladybirds head into hibernation when there is less daylight and the temperature drops to around five degrees at night, so around early October.

"Around this time, they'll head into hibernation points in hollow trees and emerge next spring.

"In recent years a non-native species originating from Asia, the harlequin ladybird, has thrived in the UK and has rapidly become one of the most common ladybirds in the country.

"As one of the stronger and larger species, it is able to out-compete our native species for aphid-prey, and will also eat other ladybirds' eggs and larvae.

"This along with the fact they can have multiple broods throughout the spring, summer and autumn, gives it a competitive edge."

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