Snack Time!

Mike Oxley

Cornwall Ontario, Canada

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Artist's Description

Ladybug Coccinella septempunctata
Sister’s Side Yard, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada
September 25, 2011

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The ladybugs have arrived. A little late because the flowers are a complete disaster area, but they have arrived. I studied them for a while and watched them scurrying about and flying from place to place. Then I noticed that quite a few were just perched on a leaf, not moving. On very close inspection, I saw that the still ones were not taking a break, but munching quite happily on an ex Aphid.

The Aphid Buffet. All you can eat – for nowt!

With thanks to

Ladybug, or Ladybird, a small beetle. Members of most species, both as larvae and as adults, feed on garden pests such as aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs. Ladybugs live in temperate and warmer parts of the world. Most are brightly colored, with spotted, dome-shaped bodies 1/16 to 3/8 of an inch (2 to 10 mm) long. They are commonly red, yellow, or orange and spotted with black, white, or yellow. Many species hibernate in winter.

The most common species are the two-spotted ladybug, the nine-spotted ladybug, and the convergent ladybug, which has 13 spots. Convergent ladybugs are raised commercially and sold to farmers and gardeners.

The favorite food of ladybugs is a tiny insect called an aphid (AY fihd). Aphids feed on plant juices. When ladybugs eat aphids, they are doing farmers a big favor.

In the late 1800’s, a pest called the cottony cushion scale insect was eating the citrus crop in California. The farmers brought in a species of ladybug from Australia. The ladybugs ate the scale insects and saved the crop. Since then, ladybugs have been one of our most important pest controls.

In the fall, ladybugs gather together in huge groups on the ground and hibernate until spring. Some people gather sleeping ladybugs in buckets and sell them to gardeners and farmers.

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 17 to 70, Tamron doubler, 140 mm equivalent
iso 100, spot metered, Aperture Priority F9.0, 1/50 second

Artwork Comments

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