I’ve blogged a lot about lady beetles recently. That’s because we have been inundated by them ever since moving to Illinois. The beetle deluge is not a good thing, though, as ours are nearly all Harmonia axyridis, an extraordinarily pesty species imported from Asia in what must rank as one of the most poorly executed biological control projects ever. In the wake of the alien lady beetle invasion, our native species have all but disappeared.
Enter the Lost Ladybug Project. The project is a citizen-science initiative out of Cornell University to gather information on the distribution of various native and introduced species. Anyone can submit photos of lady beetles from around North America. The project folks will identify them and log the location and date.
Although the results so far show a depressing dominance of European Coccinella septempunctata and Asian Harmonia, the database has received at least one record of the nine-spotted lady beetle, an insect that was once common but hadn’t been seen for 14 years. If you’ve got some spare time and a camera, I highly recommend participating.