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Arts & Life

Ladybug 'Sturgis' is Back

That special time of year is here again when ladybugs lay aside their solitary ways and converge for their annual ladybug Sturgis, a once-in-a-lifetime festival of mating and perhaps collecting a few more calories before winter.

Fortunate hikers occasionally stumble across a ladybug "aggregate" as entomologists call them. Your SDPB Outdoors correspondent was investigating a peak in the Western Hills when I noticed hundreds, if not thousands, of them swarming a particular rock. Soon I realized there were many rocks and logs swarmed with throngs of Hippodamia convergens. Between these congested areas were ladybugs on every surface, in ones and twos, shuttling down the highways to the ladybug cities.

The literature says that ladybugs can lay their eggs within a week of mating, or wait for a period of months if they go into diapause (dormancy), so maybe that's what these will do.

Since ladybugs are short-lived, none of these particular ladybugs have been here before. Some think they may leave a pheromone trail that radiates across the land like rally tees, calling them back to their ancestors' party.

Anyway, this is why we walk. Beauty out here is intransigent.