Yes, there is such a thing as a Ladybug House and they are available from merchants online, including this one (the sweet song at this website is worth the visit!)........
Little did I know when I posted yesterday about the lack of ladybugs in our house this winter, placing the cause squarely (and likely erroneously) on our new replacement windows, that the comments I received afterward would lead me to The Lost Ladybug Project at Cornell University. My initial google search hit on an updated Associated Press report featured at msnbc.com, dated September 29, 2008, that discussed the decline and disappearance of some species of Ladybugs.
The full report is shocking, and awakened me to the realization that it's been a long time since I've seen the multi-spotted ladybug (officially called the nine-spotted or C9) that was commonplace in my childhood-through-young adulthood. The photo I featured in my post yesterday shows what must be, from the descriptions in the report, an imported Asian ladybug. All rights are reserved in the AP article and I'm hesitant to include excerpted paragraphs. So here are KEYWORDS/PHRASES found in the report (read the report at the link to flesh out the bulleted information below):
- The nine-spotted ladybug
- mentomologists call Coccinella novemnotata — or C-9
- The decline of C-9 and some other native ladybugs
- scientists have launched a nationwide project to help them understand why [note: link at end]
- John Losey, a Cornell University entomologist leads the Lost Ladybug Project [note: link at end]
- project recruiting citizen scientists, particularly children, to search for C-9 and other ladybug species and send photos of them to Cornell for identification and inclusion in a database [note: link at end]
- outreach efforts targeted especially to 5- to 11-year-olds from Native American, rural, farming, migrant or low-income communities. . .[note: link at end]
- ecological value of ladybugs is well known
- are common predators of garden and agricultural pests
- a popular cultural icon
- recent surveys have found none in the Northeast since 1992
- multicolored Asian ladybug introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Asian ladybug in homes
- theories on disappearance
- pilot phase of the Lost Ladybug Project - kids found a nine-spotted ladybug near their home in 2006, first C-9 documented in the eastern U.S. in 14 years [note: see link to Audubon video below as it features the children mentioned here]
Better yet, go directly to the source website for the Lost Ladybug Project to learn about the ladybugs' disappearance and this project hoping to identify why it's been happening. If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, or mentor of children in the 5- to 11 age range this might be just the project you or they have been searching for to heighten an interest in science and to really make a difference.
The website features a listing of all the ladybugs submitted to the Lost Ladybug Project so far, categorized by species, state, and city....plus it's updated every 24 hours! Additionally, the site features a newly-released (January 2009) video produced by the Audubon Society. Titled Spotting the Ladybug, it discusses the species, providing fascinating info I never knew before (did you know the baby ladybug looks like a tiny alligator, and that in Switzerland the ladybug is known as "God's Little Fatty"?) Go here then click on the face of the smiling woman to view this great video.
Photo and graphic: tinypic.com