Could it happen again?
It’s been 40 years since the ladybird plague of 1976, when a summer of heat and drought saw swarms of seven-spotted ladybirds infesting the UK. The British Entomological and Natural History Society has estimated that 23.65 billion of them were swarming on the southern and eastern coasts of England by late July. Once they ran out of aphids to eat, they started biting people in an attempt to rehydrate themselves with human sweat. The gardener’s favourite insect became, briefly, a pest on an alarming scale.
Could it happen again? Apparently, despite the drop in ladybird numbers over recent decades, the ‘perfect storm’ of factors that caused the ’76 boom could recur. Population explosions typically happen once every 15 years, so it’s well overdue.
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