kcf32's picture

Harlequin Ladybird

Observed: 1st December 2009 By: kcf32
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course completeShropshire Wildlife Trust
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Norwich 2009-12-01 007
Norwich 2009-12-01 005

Found resting on the floor of my daughter's house in Norwich

Species interactions

No interactions present.


lst55's picture

Winter ladybirds

We always get loads of harlequins trying to hide in the window frames around autumn, I assume they need to find gaps to hide in for winter? Do they hibernate?


OU Student

kcf32's picture

Winter Ladybirds


My knowledge of ladybirds is based on the Ladybird Survey web site <>.

This states that
"August: The new generation of adult ladybirds emerge from the pupae.
"September: These new adults feed but do not mate until next spring after they have overwintered.
"October- February: Adult ladybirds spend winter in a dormant state, known as 'overwintering'."

I assume that harlequins do the same and the one I photographed had settled down to a long rest when I disturbed it - no wonder it did not fly away.


Martin Harvey's picture


Keith is correct, ladybirds do overwinter as adults (I'm told that "overwintering" is the term to use, rather than "hibernation" - I think this is because ladybirds do not undergo the sort of changes to their metabolism that hibernating mammals do). Many species overwinter 'in the wild', e.g. in bark crevices on trees, or among leaf litter, but both Harlequin and Two-spot Ladybirds have a habit of congregating in large numbers inside buildings, and especially around window frames.

Harlequin remains active longer into autumn/winter than many of the native species as well, so is often still flying around on sunny days in November, although I would have expected most to be in their overwintering places by now.

Entomologist and biological recorder

rimo's picture


Yes the Harlequin does diapause over winter, as do all the other UK ladybird species. Hibernation implies physiological changes including lowering of the body temperature; as cold-blooded animals, ladybirds (or any insects) can't do this, therefore they can't hibernate, in the strictest sense of the word, which is why we use 'overwinter' on the survey websites. Incidentally, the Harlequin only overwinters when it gets cold enough - where temperatures stay high and food remains abundant, Harlequins don't diapause and instead constant-brood, unlike some of our native species, such as the 7-spot, which requires a period of cold to stimulate the development of the gonads, ready for breeding in spring post-diapause

In Japan, the Harlequin's native range, they hibernate in uplands in caves and similar protected environments, and in their introduced range they use sheds, porches and houses instead. They're hugely abundant this year as a result of the early spring, warm damp summer and late start to winter, which allowed an extra generation.

Record your ladybird sightings!

kcf32's picture


The Harlequin Ladybird Survey have responded and confirmed my ID