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A ladybird biodiversity campaign is being launched in central Scotland to celebrate the diversity of the colourful beetles and to raise awareness of the importance of the creatures to the environment.
Led by the Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT) and funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, the ‘Love Our Ladybirds’ campaign aims to raise awareness of, and protect ladybirds through promotional activities and events, providing educational resources for schools and by undertaking practical habitat creation or enhancement projects for different species in suitable areas.
Scientifically known as Coccinellidae, there are over 40 different ladybird species across the UK, with 15 in Scotland. Six of these are commonly found in Scotland including the seven-spot ladybird and two-spot ladybird, with another nine rare or with localised distributions. All ladybirds have their own habitat, hibernation and food requirements and all share the same life-cycle.
Some ladybird species in Scotland are thriving whilst others are decreasing due to lack of suitable summer and winter habitats, loss of food plants and predation from the invasive Harlequin ladybird.
To help conserve the range of ladybirds found in central Scotland today, CSGNT, along with partners including SNH and Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, is encouraging local primary schools in Scotland to apply for a ‘Love Our Ladybirds’ kit.
The packs are aimed at primary four to primary seven pupils and comprise of a range of valuable educational tools, including teaching aids such as ladybird identification guides, activities to help protect the beetles and information on how to create the optimum habitats within the school grounds, as well as hibernation hotel kits.
Emilie Wadsworth, Biodiversity & Heritage Officer at CSGNT, said: “Ladybirds provide a valuable service to our eco-system and it is vitally important that we protect the biodiversity of the species currently found in Scotland. Often known as a gardener’s friend, most adult and larvae ladybirds are excellent predators of aphids and other pests.
“Working alongside our partners, the ‘Love Our Ladybirds’ drive offers a range of educational tools for local primary schools in Scotland including teaching aids on identifying ladybirds, as well as suggestions for how provide suitable habitats within the school grounds, in order to attract more species, and hibernation hotel kits for pupils to create.”
Arthur Keller, Operations Manager at Scottish Natural Heritage, said: “This project will help children discover how important a role small insects like ladybirds can play – and how much difference each of them can make to help ladybirds thrive. Ladybirds also show that looks are deceptive – they make a big contribution to a healthy ecosystem by getting rid of aphids and other pests which eat plants.”
For further information please visit the ‘Love Our Ladybirds’ campaign page.