Last week, we were at a toy store and I picked up a small ladybug habitat. I've been wanting to buy the larger one that I've seen in catalogs but it's about $20, more than I wished to spend. Plus, the company that makes them won't ship ladybugs to OR; this is likely due to the fact that we experience occasional ladybug invasions. I remember one year we had an average of 14 ladybugs crawling on our dining room ceiling daily. I was constantly catching them and letting them go outside. The worst of it was when one fell down on the table during dinner (did it land in a glass? I think so). Freaked poor Carmen out so much that for months, she was leery of eating out there. We just bought a new chandelier to go over the dining room table and so took the old one down. It appears that many ladybugs met their doom around the base of each lightbulb holder. Ugh!
Back to the habitat. My daughter actually loves ladybugs (as long as they aren't falling from the ceiling) and when she saw this small habitat, she asked if we could get it. So we did. My kids already know a lot about ladybugs and having one in the habitat would be a great experience but I hadn't seen any outside yet. I was hoping they would start appearing soon. Then yesterday, my son went outside and came running back in with a ladybug! Such excitement! Into its new home it went. Ever since then, my daughter has been very busy making sure this insect is well cared for, not too hot or too cold, isn't dead, has something to eat and drink. Today, someone found another ladybug, a smaller one with more spots, and he/she joined the first bug. We do not know how to tell if they are male or female. Any suggestions? I'm sure the ladybugs know, but they are not telling. This afternoon, Carmen asked if I'd go out with her to look for aphids. We found one on a rose leaf. Into the habitat it went and became dinner. Poor thing didn't have a chance. You can also feed them raisins. Which we did.
Amazingly, I'm the only one who has let a ladybug escape (no surprise there) but I caught it and returned it to it's home. I was redeemed. Tomorrow we need to clean up the ladybug waste (ahem) and we've been discussing where we'll put the ladybugs while we are doing that. It has been really educational and fun for my daughter, as well as my sons, all for under $7.00. Not bad. I think I've read that the Japanese think of ladybugs as good luck. If I believed in luck, I would agree. However, since I've lived in OR and have experienced the invasions, my thoughts on that would have to be: "One ladybug in the house is good luck, more than that is a nuisance!"
Unless, of course, we get more habitats.