I’ll admit it; this was all a surprise to me.
I have had a life-long interest in lions and tigers and bears, oh my. But I never gave a thought to Ladybugs, much less to the billions and billions of bugs, as Carl Sagan might have pointed out, that live right under our feet.
I’m not picking on any particular political party here, but the place is buzzing with nasty stories that just aren’t true. Bugs aren’t nasty – not all of therm. A few of them are downright cute. The Ladybug is about the cutest bug I’ve ever seen. And she never hurt a fly!
What first sparked my interest, a few weeks ago, my daughter-in-law pointed out a really attractive red and black-spotted insect – it was not at all a creepy crawler – we just missed stepping on as we were leaving San Elijo Lagoon in Cardiff. She picked it up and we watched, fascinated, for a few minutes as it toured her palm, before she placed it on a nearby leaf, out of harm’s way.
“What do they do for a living,” I asked? Her answer changed my life – it’s true!
They do quite a lot, actually. They dine on aphids; they help farmers protect their crops; they keep pests out of your garden. They produce thousands of eggs. Like bears, they hibernate in winter. They have the most interesting, almost unbelievable, life story of anybody or any bug I’ve ever heard about – outside of a Ray Bradbury novel.
To me, it sounded like science fiction. Shape-shifting. Lon Chaney, Jr. changing into wolf man! That dates me, I know, but werewolves in films and television have nothing on Ladybugs. Ladybugs change shape three times, including once that’s pretty scary looking.
What an eye-opening concept. What a “pupa”-opening concept – if you know about the pupa, larvae, and adult stages of the Ladybug life cycle.
I didn’t want to bug her, but I wanted to know more. So, my daughter-in-law, Elayna, who happens to be Education Coordinator at the Conservancy, gave me a tour, and told me a bit about the birds, the plants, the geology – and the bugs. As a photographer, I fell in love with the place. I fell in love with the Ladybug.
San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy is one of the very few wild life sanctuaries and wetlands in California – and it’s free! Take a tour. It might change your life.