Ladybugs in 2009, or the seeming lack of them, is the sort of question that makes me wonder if my world view is skewed.
My daughter spotted this ladybug crawling downed leaves under a neighbor's plant Saturday afternoon. Most years in late September, that would mean nothing. But it was only the third one I have seen this fall, so I ran home and grabbed the camera.
Narturally, I wondered if my lack of sightings meant something or if it was just a quirk in where I have been and seen.
So I reached out to Carl Strang, a naturalist who has a good eye and feel for our local natural wonders. His official job is with the Office of Education - Mayslake for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
Here's his response:
I am not aware that anyone is formally monitoring them. This is my first year with my office at Mayslake, so I don't have a basis of comparison to go on here. I have never seen unusual numbers around my home, so also can't comment there. It has been a cool, wet year, so it's conceivable that the non-native species were affected (fungal diseases, for instance, would be favored by such conditions). However, I haven't seen mention of such.
Most years I have some windows just loaded with them. That hasn't happened this year.
Maybe it is the cool year, because most often they congregate around the warm windows, sort of like sinners around a hellfire-and-brimstone preacher.