Alive

  Ladybirds always catch the eye. This bush, six feet tall, growing in our garden, is home to scores of them.
  
The reason is in the pictures, too, the greenfly alongside the shoots, which ladybirds and their grubs eat.

  
And the, faster moving and harder to photograph, there are the ants that visit the greenfly to collect their sweet excreta. A green fly gets in on the act as well. I’m not sure why it’s there unless to remind me it would be better to call greenfly aphids, especially when they are wingless forms like these.

   A couple of hover flies are also after the aphids. This is fresh food for the picking, far more than any of these predators can eat. The shrub turns carbon dioxide and water into sugary sap, the aphids tap it, and a community of animals moves in. There is really quite a lot of meat on this one bush.
I think that most if not all of these ladybirds are harlequin ladybirds, marauding Asiatic immigrants arriving in swarms to threaten our own British ladybirds’ standard of living. No, hang on, that’s Tory propaganda about human beings in need.

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