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Harry

Autumn Plagues - Wasps, Ladybirds, House Spiders & Starlings

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Hi all

Thought I should start a post on what I've been calling the plagues - the waspies, the ladybirds, the house spiders and the starlings.

Yesterday, I witnessed one of the most amazing things I've probably witnessed in nature (other than the weather of course).

I was laying in bed contently watching the snooker, when I heard the most incredible sound of birds! It sounded like several had become stuck in the room and were all screeching in symphony - the noise was incredible. I used the opportunity to pop outside for a cigarette, and there were literally hundreds if not thousands, of starlings. Trees, tv aerials, roofs etc were covered in starlings, all screaming out their chants...was an incredible sight. They hang around for about 20-30 minutes before, in unison, sweeping out from their positions and flying off en masse...all I can assume was that this was their winter migration...it was truly an amazing sight!!

The usual peril this time of year at my house is the wasps...as is the case now every year, there are at least two wasp nests in my house, with every day revealing around 4 to a dozen wasps predominately in my lounge, though rather annoyingly in my bedroom also. It is a mystery how they are getting in there - my theory is down the chimney as I cannot fathom where else it can be (windows closed). They are thankfully quite docile and tending to mope around on the floor (slippers/shoes to be worn at all times) or sitting exhausted on the windows. Annoying though nonetheless.

House spiders are doing very well this year - have seen quite a few of the huge beasties, which have caused a few heart palpations in my household I can assure you - I am not keen on them, predominately because they are so huge (if you havent seen one - your handspan is probably near the mark). As ever they are harmless, though quite frightful! Cant ever remember seeing so many in a short space of time before though.

Ladybirds - wtf! They are around in their millions - every window has many climbing over each pane - everywhere you go you see the little red dots whizzing around! Their population is extremely high this year - whether this is because of the relatively dry and warm summer and autumn we've had?? I don't know...but there are MANY of them around, and it is actually quite impressive to see them all.

So, they are my plagues this year - thankfully, for the second year running, I have had relatively limited confrontations with my primary foes - crane flies and moths! There have been a few, dont get me wrong, but certainly has not been (so far!!!) a year where I've been out of my wits TOO often.

Has anyone else suffered any 'plagues' this autumn?

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Not seen many wasps recently, they seem to have died down, spiders also seem to dieing down a little, but still plenty around. What i did notice was a lot of ladybirds, must have seen about 20 climbing one fence post! They was not all the same colour though. Some of them were black with orange spots or red spots

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Not seen many wasps recently, they seem to have died down, spiders also seem to dieing down a little, but still plenty around. What i did notice was a lot of ladybirds, must have seen about 20 climbing one fence post! They was not all the same colour though. Some of them were black with orange spots or red spots

Harlequin ladybirds then, rather than native ones.

Here, I'm pleased to say, I've seen only two wasps so far this year.

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I've seen only two wasps so far this year.

:drinks::):)

Ive seen thousends and i still haven't been stung yet :)

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Wasps are particularly abundant still, and still looking for a fight by the looks of it. Loads of Starlings too, but they dont migrate as such they spend all winter around here I find, particularly in the town shopping areas where they can feed on people dropped chips etc.

Havent seen a single ladybird this year.

This is does seems a good year for False Widows though I've noticed.

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Wasps are particularly abundant still, and still looking for a fight by the looks of it. Loads of Starlings too, but they dont migrate as such they spend all winter around here I find, particularly in the town shopping areas where they can feed on people dropped chips etc.

Havent seen a single ladybird this year.

This is does seems a good year for False Widows though I've noticed.

Flase Widows? Oh dear - I know they are only remotely fatal to people with exceptionally heightened sensitivity to the venom, but still...I don't think I'd want to find one in my bed...brrrr! Can't say I have seen many of these however - I did notice on one of the google images a kind of spider I see fairly frequently, though I doubt it's a false widow as the last I heard they hadn't spread very far yet...might be wrong though.

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Strangely, it's a lack of beasties that has been noticeable here, this year.

I have seen two, just TWO, daddy-long-legs this September, and we are usually inundated with the things. :unknw:

Similarly, no plagues of flying ants in the Summer. :unknw:

Hardly any creepy-crawlys at all, really.

There have always been lots of birds in my garden, but this year we have had jays frequently.....I don't know if they are eating the little blighters........ :unknw:

I have just thought, though........for several months in the Spring my back garden was a building site as Wessex Water were laying a new main sewer through it (and side lines)....think diggers, 8 foot deep trenches and a massive cavern now situated under my once-lovely lawn ( :drinks: )...maybe that put insects off using the garden as a place to lay their eggs. :unknw:

I'll see what happens next year.

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Has anyone else suffered any 'plagues' this autumn?

Last week, when we had a couple of very sunny days here, there were masses of tiny flies (greenflys and the like) swarming underneath all the nearby trees. They actually filled the air and looked like tiny, tiny snowflakes... but snowflakes don't make me feel itchy!

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Flase Widows? Oh dear - I know they are only remotely fatal to people with exceptionally heightened sensitivity to the venom, but still...I don't think I'd want to find one in my bed...brrrr! Can't say I have seen many of these however - I did notice on one of the google images a kind of spider I see fairly frequently, though I doubt it's a false widow as the last I heard they hadn't spread very far yet...might be wrong though.

There are 2 different types of False Widows in UK

Steatoda nobilis and Steatoda grossa, either way they both bite and dish out venom - The ones I've seen are nobilis though because they have that silvery pattern on their back. S. grossa tend to be completely shiny black and are native to the UK.

Still there are a load of them, I saw one last night outside the window, and I just spotted one in the conservatory!

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Nope no plagues here.

Did see the first few wasps around her a few weeks ago and swatted a queen out of my bedroom window into the cold night.

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Had several more wasps in the house yesterday....grrrrrrrr!!!!

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There are loads of HUGE hornets flying around the garden, just seen 4 different ones in the space of 10 mins, I have to make a hasty retreat because I don't want to P off something that size (they were all roughly the size of my thumb!)

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Lots of wasps this year, several times they've landed on me without me noticing and I still haven't been stung yet, not seen any for a week or so, so maybe they're done? Lots of House Spiders about I'm rather pleased to say (ok I'm strange but I'm rather fond of them), mostly males looking for mates. Not seen many ladybird swarms, but as it's mostly Harlequins that do that in Autumn I think they haven't reached here yet in any great numbers.

There are loads of HUGE hornets flying around the garden, just seen 4 different ones in the space of 10 mins, I have to make a hasty retreat because I don't want to P off something that size (they were all roughly the size of my thumb!)

Were they proper Hornets Vespa crabro? I don't know whether they have reached that far north yet.

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Judging by the distinct down curl at the end of the tail and roughly the size of my thumb, I think so yes. Certainly wasn't like a queen V. vulgaris wasp, as Ive had experiences with those and they tend to have a straight 'tail'

I think many things that have not thought to have moved north, in reality have, for example false widows, ring necked parakeets, scorpions, I've seen all of those except Scorpions, although Scorpions have been documented in Liverpool.

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Judging by the distinct down curl at the end of the tail and roughly the size of my thumb, I think so yes. Certainly wasn't like a queen V. vulgaris wasp, as Ive had experiences with those and they tend to have a straight 'tail'

I think many things that have not thought to have moved north, in reality have, for example false widows, ring necked parakeets, scorpions, I've seen all of those except Scorpions, although Scorpions have been documented in Liverpool.

Might be worth sending the sighting in to a local recorder or somesuch person or organisation? maybe BWARS? Looking at the maps on BWARS, you're near the edge of UK sightings. http://bwars.com/Map_Vespa-crabro.htm

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A lot of ladybirds here. Seem to be looking for some where to over winter.

Anyone got suggestions for a container of some sorts outside they could be encouraged to stay in? They would then be ready in the spring to come and zap the bugs.

H

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Doubt they'll go for a container, best to leave them a patch uncleared in herbaceous borders, failing that, they'll find their own nook in a wall or in shrubs.

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A lot of ladybirds here. Seem to be looking for some where to over winter.

H

Just had a close look at the Ladybirds. All of them are the alien Harliquin.

I think the government ought to restrict there immigration and growth.

H

[i think the government ought to restrict there immigration and growth.

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Passports? Border control? Visa's? What about second and third generations, will they be subject to laxer controls? :rolleyes:

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