Vermont’s Lost Lady Beetles

Vermont’s Lost Lady Beetles

March 2, 2021| Categories: Observing, Programs and Events

A virtual presentation for all ages

Saturday, March 27 at 10:00 AM

in partnership with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

Free and open to everyone.


What do you think of when you imagine a ladybug (officially known as a lady beetle)? Is it red with black spots? Many people are familiar with the species that commonly congregates inside our homes in the winter (the invasive Asian Lady Beetle), but there are actually at least 42 species that have been recorded in Vermont alone! Lady beetles can be different sizes and colors, ranging from black to yellow to red. They can be found in fields, forests, shrubland, swamps, and right in your backyard!

Despite differences in appearance and habitat preference, many lady beetles share an important feature: they act as a biological pest control, munching down aphids, plant mites, scale insects, and other soft-bodied pests. Native lady beetles have evolved alongside native pest species, and many synchronize their life cycles to align with their pest of choice. For example, both Hudsonian Ladybirds (Mulsantina hudsonica) and Eye-spotted Lady Beetles (Anatis mali) have evolved to synchronize their life cycles with that of the Balsam Twig Aphid (Mindarus abietinus). Balsam fir trees benefit from the pest control offered by these lady beetles.

Unfortunately, many native lady beetle species populations across the country are in decline, due to the introduction of non-native lady beetle species, land use change, and pesticides. Vermont appears to be experiencing declines as well. Currently, 12 of Vermont’s native lady beetle species have not been seen in over 40 years. That said, a complete survey of lady beetles has not been completed in 45 years. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies has launched the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, to learn about the current state of Vermont’s lady beetle populations. They are on a mission to teach the public about lady beetles and get volunteers involved in citizen science to survey their populations.

Join us for a virtual presentation on Saturday, March 27 at 10:00 AM to learn more about Vermont’s lady beetles, led by Vermont Center for Ecostudies ECO Americorps volunteer Julia Pupki. Learn how you can participate in finding Vermont’s lost lady beetles: it’s easy, fun, and will advance our understanding of how to conserve the native species of lady beetles living in our state.

Streaming live on Zoom and Facebook. You can pre-register HERE.

Vermont Center for Ecostudies biologist Spencer Hardy and ECO Americorps volunteer Julia Pupko (not pictured) digitizing the Fairbanks Museum’s lady beetle collections to include in the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas

 

Tags: citizen science, Fairbanks Museum, Lady Beetles, Natural History, Vermont Center for Ecostudies