Ladybird Survey

Three main steps in ladybird survey: find a ladybird, record observations, report results. Ladybird image courtesy Ken Dolbear

The Ladybird Survey is real science that anyone can take part in. How many have you seen?

Look out for ladybirds

Ladybirds are important to local ecosystems and provide natural pest control to gardeners. But they face threats too.

Do One Thing for nature - spend some time looking for ladybirds and join the UK Ladybird Survey run by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH).

To take part you need to:

View some of the results so far on the BBC Nature UK blog.

Would you like to watch ladybirds hatch? Join the separate UK Ladybird Parasite Survey.

UK Ladybird Survey

ladybirds hibernating

This survey asks you to look for live ladybirds in all sorts of places: not just outside in gardens, parks or woodland but indoors too.

Gang together and search an area intensively or just make notes when you happen to see one.

Record observations

For each ladybird you see, please note down:

  • The date
  • Location - the address/postcode of the site, or a sketch map
  • Habitat - eg indoors, garden, park, woodland

Please take a close-up picture as well. For best results, switch off the flash, get close, zoom in and hold the camera steady.

If you see ladybirds together, count how many of each type there are.

Identify the ladybirds

To work out what type a ladybird is, you can download and print sheets to take with you or use the interactive step-by-step Ladybird Spotter application.

Ladybird artwork courtesy RSPB ©Chris ShieldsLeft to right: cream spot, 10-spot, 7-spot, heather, 22-spot, harlequin, 2-spot ladybirds. Scale approximate. Click image to launch interactive Spotter.

Report your results

Once you have seen a ladybird, or maybe carried out a group survey around an area, it's time to send your data to the UK Ladybird Survey scientists.

Check you have:

  • All the information you need noted down
  • A digital photograph showing each type of ladybird you found

Ready? Launch the Ladybird Survey recording form on the CEH website.

Screen shot of Ladybird Survey recording formExample step from Survey recording form. Click image to start reporting your results.

Download and print

Download PdfLadybird identification and recording sheet

Download PdfGetting good photos of small creatures

You may wish to download Adobe Reader to view these PDF files.

About the ladybird surveys

The UK Ladybird Survey aims to study ladybirds by building up a long-term view of where and how they live.

CEH began monitoring ladybirds in the 1960s and has been inviting the public to take part online since 2005.

The Survey lets you see how scientists carry out biological recording. That means carefully noting: what you find, its location and surroundings, the date.

The Ladybird Survey asks you to upload digital photographs. That's so the scientists can check what you report – some ladybirds are hard to identify.

Knowing who made an observation is also useful, but (so anyone can take part) Breathing Places lets you send a report without saying who you are. Note: if you're a school teacher or a group leader you will be asked for an email address, to help CEH use the data fully.

Go further

If you enjoy biological recording, there is a range of wildlife surveys you may like to contribute to.

Alternatively, get clued up about ladybirds or study ladybird pupae for the Ladybird Parasite Survey.

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