Last year, alarm bells started going off as we sifted through historic lady beetle collections from the University of Vermont Zadock Thompson Natural History Collection, Middlebury College, and the Vermont Forest, Parks, and Recreation collection, and modern records from the Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist project and the Lost Ladybug Project at Cornell University as well. As the pieces fell into place, we realized that 13 of Vermont’s 33 native lady beetle species have been missing since the 1970s. This may come as a surprise to anyone who has watched armies of bright red and orange beetles invade their windowsills once the autumn wind catches a chill. However, most of these winter roommates are in fact an invasive species—the Asian Lady Beetle—thought to be partly responsible for the native species’ declines.
The Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas was created to find answers to the questions regarding these missing species’ whereabouts. The Atlas’s main objective is to collect information about Vermont’s lady beetle species by conducting field surveys and revisiting older records in order to develop a deeper understanding of how they are faring. However, VCE cannot undertake this endeavor alone. It's as easy as search, photograph, and upload– to the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas.
Please join us! Visit the Vermont Lady Beetle Atlas website at https://val.vtecostudies.org/projects/lady-beetle-atlas/ and learn more!