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How to prevent the annual ladybird massacre?

Every year, ladybirds nest somewhere in the eaves of the roof/window recesses, then emerge too early into the heated house and die in their multitudes. I put the live ones outside but there is no food around so they probably die too. Some nest in the garage but get eaten by spiders. One year they unknowingly nested in my polytunnel and I accidentally disturbed them clearing up. Not sure how many survived but I do leave the poly undisturbed now. There is loads of natural cover outside and piles of garden trimmings etc. I have plenty of planting they are attracted to and the roses provide aphids but usually not until late spring. I see very few around over the season.

Is it worth providing special ladybird boxes or will they just ignore them and nest in buildings anyway? Anything else I can do to decrease the mortality rate?

Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,524
    We have them every year in their hundreds.

    They hibernate in the workings of the sash windows in all the rooms and get squished whenever we open the windows for a bit of fresh air.

    They also gather in the corners where the window frames meet the bedroom walls.  On warm days they go walkabout on the window panes and I sprinkle and spray them with water to keep them hydrated. They are keen drinkers and can swallow a tremendous amount.

    Sometimes I put them outside for some fresh air but they inevitably end up back indoors a few hours later.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,800
    Same here.  Hundreds of them hibernating in all the window frames.  When I find the odd one flying about I put it on the indoor oriental hibiscus as they sometimes get aphids but not this year for some reason.

    Your post prompted me to do a search and two sites recommend gathering them up in a matchbox or jar depending on numbers and then moving them to a cool, dark place outside or in a shed where they can huddle and not get too warm too early and also not dry out.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ErgatesErgates Posts: 2,069
    I had no idea ladybirds did this! I’d better check around when I’m clearing places. I’ve certainly got some safe corners outside the sheds they could move into. 
    How long can adult ladybirds live? I’ve never found them in the house, just woodlice. Every morning, we find several of those wandering around on the floors, and have to escort them outside.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,524
    I don’t know how long they live. We have all different kinds from tiny 2-spot ones up to big fat harlequin ones.

    Here are the sleepyheads in one corner of one window. Their pals are streaming over the glass in the sunshine.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 6,742
    It didn’t occur to me to give them water @pansyface, I’ll try that. Yes they do seem to get in when I open the upstairs windows. We are forever sweeping up the bodies from the bedroom floors. Also I have a box of old packing straw in the poly so might try moving those still alive in a matchbox and depositing them there @Obelixx
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited March 2022
    There are some hibernating ladybird support thoughts here. She suggests they huddle to hold moisture as much as anyhing. Central heating is bad news for them.


    Off the point - but this is a reminder of what ladybird larvae look like. Not, perhaps, what you might imagine if you don't know what to look for. Many grubs are squashed cos they are a bit weird and scary looking.

  • NollieNollie Posts: 6,742
    That was a useful link @Fire, she confirmed my suspicions that ladybird boxes would not be much use and they would ignore them/return to the house. The poly it is.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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