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Our Ladybirds help save ladybird beetles!

Ladybirds (IGG members age five to seven) throughout Ireland are on the hunt for ladybird beetles … and they are calling on everyone else to join in the All Ireland Ladybird Survey too!

It’s all in a good cause – to help save our native ladybird species from extinction as they are under threat from the Harlequin ladybird – a non-native species.

When you find a ladybird, you are asked to leave it where you find it, take a photo, make a note of the date, time, location and description of the ladybird (count the spots!) and go to www.biology.ie to submit your sighting. You can download identification sheets from the website to help you identify the kind of ladybird you have found.

The All Ireland Ladybird Survey is headed up by Gill Weyman, a PhD student from University College Cork who has teamed up with Fota Wildlife Park. She is calling on people throughout the country to take part in the survey. “We would simply ask you to be vigilant and let us know if you spot a ladybird. The study is vital to help understand the distribution of ladybirds in Ireland and to help put plans in place to conserve Irish ladybirds, which are under threat from the Harlequin. Any help spotting ladybirds will be greatly appreciated.”

IGG Chief Commissioner Helen Concannon said Ladybirds throughout Ireland are enjoying searching for ladybird beetles and finding out about the different species. “When we saw the ladybird survey online, it was a no-brainer that our girls would want to get involved and be part of a mission to help save native ladybirds,” she said. “The girls have been amazed to discover from the id sheets that there are so many different kinds of ladybirds.

“Our members always enjoy going outdoors and we encourage our girls to care for the environment and all living things. Ladybirds can earn Environmental Awareness and Bird Watcher badges while older girls – Brownies (age 7-10) and Guides (age 10-14) – can earn Nature Observer, Green Fingers and Tree Lore badges. The Nature Observer badge for Brownies includes carrying out a mini-beast/bug hunt to see what insects they can find.”