Here’s one good reason to check your cup of tea before you take a sip… unless you like it crunchy! Last night I popped a cup of tea on the bedside table then switched on the lamp. Before I could turn the page of a book four harlequin ladybirds had plopped into the murky depths. About a dozen more clustered around the light.
Many insects experience Phototaxis, an automatic movement toward or away from light. Cockroaches are an example of a negatively phototactic organism; flick on the lights and they scurry to the darkest corner. Moths are the complete opposite and will flock to the light. In my case of Harlequins they were quietly loitering in the corner before the bright light got them all excited and woke them from their slumber.
I have blogged a couple of times about my harlequin infestation but despite a spritz of insecticide last summer which temporarily curbed the infestation, I am learning to live in harmony with them. The latest wave is starting to become irritating though. They relinquish life on the carpet and crunch underfoot into tiny pieces. I have found them white as a sheet on the woodburner and their waxy carcasses on the window sills. Harlequins have as many as five generations per year and a new wave has clearly just begun.
So, before you take a sip of your tea check there’s nothing more sinister floating in it than a soggy biscuit.