If you've been following the Bugs Count since the launch last week, you'll know that we're asking everyone to keep an eye out for the Two-spot Ladybird - it's one of our Species Quests. There is evidence to suggest that Two-spot numbers are declining as a result of the arrival of the non-native Harlequin Ladybird. Bugs Count wants to discover more about where they are still found, and how many are out there. In order to do this we've been working with the Ladybird Recording Scheme, who are the experts on all things ladybird.
But how do we know the Two-spot Ladybird has suffered a decline, and how does sending in a sighting wih a photo help? Well yesterday a new Ladybird Atlas was published - a book which includes lots of information about all our different ladybirds (there are 47 species living in the UK) with maps showing where in the country they have been seen and reported. This is the first time an atlas for ladybirds has been made, and it shows sightings gathered over the past 200 years - the oldest sighting is from 1819! Collecting sightings over such a long time period allows us to see how their distributions have changed - which ones are spreading and which ones are no longer found in certain areas.
So here's to the next 200 years of ladybird recording, and hopefully Bugs Count will help to get it off to a flying start! (All ladybird sightings you send in to us will be passed on to the Ladybird Recording Scheme).
If you'd liek to learn more about ladybirds, you can buy a copy of the atlas from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology's website, or visit them at the BBC Gardener's World Live show this week!
p.s. the Bugs Count totaliser is now at 99,700 bugs - who will find the 100,000th bug?!!!