Sean O'Grady: These ladybirds are bugging me

This is one of the moral dilemmas unleashed by climate change

Share
Related Topics

The Snows of Kilimanjaro are melting. The Ganges is drying up. El Niño is unleashing freak weather all over the world. And, in my tiny corner of suburbia, I've been invaded by ladybirds, a small, colourful but puzzling consequence of climate change.

At least I assume it is. The little beetles wandering around my flat in disturbingly large numbers are definitely ladybirds, but I'm not sure which ones. I suspect they are the new non-native species, the harlequin ladybird, which is supposed to be bigger, tougher and generally more inclined to hang out with you indoors than our proper home-grown types.

Climate change has apparently encouraged them to migrate from southern Europe to my home in southern London, and further north as far as Leeds. The harlequin ladybird is bullying and out-competing our smaller ladybirds.

I say I'm not sure about which type of ladybird is trundling around the flat because I went on Wikipedia to find out (when do I not?) and ended up very confused indeed (when do I not?). So it could be that I'm in fact sharing my home with Nick Griffin-friendly, native ladybirds of the type that have lived on these islands for 17,000 years or whatever the BNP thinks qualifies you to be British.

Anyway, the ladybirds present me with a moral and practical dilemma, and I don't know who to turn to, even if I can successfully classify them. Should I kill them? There is, as far as I know, no Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Insects. It's not big enough for The Moral Maze, and I don't fancy troubling the priest for advice. Being an animal-loving type (who cannot vote Tory because of they'd bring back fox-hunting, as well as rickets and TB), I don't really want to go around squashing these pretty little creatures that, as The Hitchhiker's Guide might have had it, are mostly harmless to humans and their property. I was brought up to believe that ladybirds are our friends, keeping the greenfly down and beautifying our gardens.

On the other hand, I don't actually ask the harlequins in and they don't make a great pet. They are also evidently not that harmless to our 46 native varieties of ladybird. Things get more morally complex because I'm generally tolerant of culls of alien invasive things that are destroying our settled way of life. Not like Nick Griffin, though, you understand. I'm on about grey squirrels. Hope that's OK with you.

Maybe some readers have experienced a similar infestation, or are philosophically or entomologically trained to offer expert guidance on the issues I face. In the absent of that, I'm inclined to solve this pressing moral dilemma in the usual manner, and ignore it.

The ladybirds aren't causing any bother, and if one turns up in my cereal, and I can distinguish it from a bumper raisin, then I suppose it might get exterminated. But I can't do anything about them invading the nation, and there is a school of thought that holds that taking it out on invasive species is a bit racist. The whole thing is starting to bug me.

s.ogrady@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Michael Crabtreeof the San Francisco 49ers misses a catch during 2013's Super Bowl XLVII  

Super Bowl 2015: It's the most ridiculous sporting event of the year, but I absolutely love it

John Rentoul
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would halt the charitable status enjoyed by private schools

Rosie Millard
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links