Explainer

Why are there more ladybirds in your home at the moment?

More ladybirds are coming into our homes at the moment looking for shelter over the winter. Credit: Professor Helen Roy

Are you seeing more ladybirds in your home at the moment?

If it feels like they're everywhere, don't worry - you're not alone!

Ladybirds are coming into our homes to find shelter for the winter and there's not much we can do about it, according to an expert.

Professor Helen Roy is an ecologist at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and has been one of the leaders of the UK Ladybird Survey for more than 15 years.

Harlequin ladybirds are the most common type of ladybirds spotted in people's homes. Credit: Professor Helen Roy

She told ITV News West Country that people typically notice ladybirds in their homes in the autumn season because the insects are looking for shelter and often make habitat in people's homes.

Professor Roy said: "What people are seeing are large numbers of ladybirds finding somewhere to stay for the winter months.

"Ladybirds go into a dormant state in the winter months, so at this time of year, many of them are beginning to think about settling down.

"What will be happening now, is that they'll be getting their cue from the light to head in for the winter".

She added that the unseasonally warm weather this year has meant the ladybirds are remaining active for longer.

"Because it's quite warm, they'll remain quite active once they're indoors. They'll be moving around in our homes until the temperature drops for a sustained period of time," Professor Roy said.

There are 47 different types of ladybirds and they all choose somewhere slightly different to take shelter.

The type of ladybird which is most commonly spotted in people's houses during this period is the Harlequin ladybird, a non-native species of ladybird which arrived in the UK in 2004.

Ladybirds start looking for shelter as the weather turns cooler. Credit: PA Images

Professor Roy said: "The Harlequin ladybird loves to come into people's houses. They like to go into higher positions, so people will often find them in upstairs rooms or in the attic".

If you do have ladybirds in your home, you'll have them for a while.

"If a ladybird has decided to be in someone's home for the winter, then it'll stay there for the winter," Professor Roy said.

"It will be next Spring when these adult ladybirds will move out of the windows and start the next phase of their lifecycle".

They won't do any harm, but if they do cause you bother the advice is to move them gently.

Professor Roy said: "If the ladybirds are in a part of the house you'd rather not have a large group of insects, then you should gently brush them into a dustpan and brush and put them outside.

"But what we'd really love, is if you recorded your sightings online, as tracking sightings of the Harlequin ladybird helps our understanding of this non-native species."