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Where do Ladybugs go when they Fly Away Home?

October 10, 2011

Last weekend my wife Jill, son Nick, and I winter-ized our family cabin.  The cabin is located in the Blue Mountains, up Mill Creek, about fifteen miles out of Walla Walla.  It is a bit primitive by modern standards.  It has no insulation, screens instead of window glass, and wooden shutters for the winter.

We “button” the cabin up for winter in October and for the last ten years (or more) we have noticed that ladybugs like to congregate in the same place, near our cabin.  This year I took some pictures and then did some research on ladybug behavior.  I found several university reports that northwest lowland ladybugs migrate to the mountains to hibernate.

The ladybugs seem to like the dead wood best

There did not seem to be a single definitive reason for their hibernation in the mountains.  But my speculation, after reading several reports, is that the colder weather helps to slow down their metabolism, during hibernation, thus allowing their stored energy to carry them through the winter.

Notice the different colors and spot patterns

Next Spring I might see if some of the ladybugs would like to ride to town with me – just to save them all of that flying… I think that I’ll let them off in the Shady Lawn Courtyard where we have had a problem with aphids on our ornamental hop vines the last few years.  Ladybugs really like aphids and I’m really not too fond of them so maybe we’ll all be happy!In answer to my question, it appears that when Walla Walla ladybugs “Fly Away Home” they head up into the Blue Mountains.

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