Activity: Ladybird hunter!
It's properly ladybird season now- they're everywhere in our garden- but the best things to spot (we think) are the baby ladybirds.
Here's one! You've probably seen these about, but many people don't realise they're ladybird larvae. This one is probably a harlequin ladybird larva: These arrived in the UK in 2004 as natural pest control and have spread across most of the country now. Unfortunately, while they eat lots of aphids they do also eat native ladybirds- though the Natural History Museum now advises that this isn't going to be a problem for the native species.
They'll happily crawl onto a finger- and if you put them near aphids (greenfly), they'll pretty much jump onto them and eat them. It's quite impressive! Ladybird nymphs are carnivorous and eat huge numbers of pest species as they grow, so they're an amazing friend to gardeners.
They're really spiky little creatures and pretty amazing to look at through a magnifying glass, if you have one handy.
For more on the huge range of ladybird species in the UK, you could have a look at the UK Ladybird Survey too.