This beginner course will cover the field identification of the larvae of all 26 British conspicuous ladybird species, as well as information on the ecology, distribution and natural history of the group.

You will have the opportunity to practice several types of field survey technique, and to look at specimens of a range of UK species.

This course will cover:

  • Field survey techniques – particularly beating, sweeping, suction sampling
  • Ladybird ecology – dietary preferences, habitat preferences, natural enemies, life cycle
  • Ladybird identification – distribution, variation/colour forms, distinctive features and similar species

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There are around 46 species of ladybird found in the UK, with 26 readily recognisable as ladybirds when adults. However, the larvae are much less well known, despite being conspicuous and reasonably straightforward to identify in the field with the naked eye.  As voracious predators of aphids and other pest insects, recognising these is particularly important for gardeners!

This course will consist of an indoors morning session, covering the natural history of ladybirds – how they fit in the ecosystem, including larval dietary and habitat preferences and natural enemies, with a focus on how this influences where they occur. You will also cover the appearance, variation, distribution and distinctive features of each species, as well as be introduced to key survey techniques.  Specimens will be available for you to compare similar species and get a feel for comparative sizes. In the afternoon, a field session will enable you to practice survey techniques in different habitats, finding ladybird larvae to practice your ID skills with advice and confirmation from an expert tutor.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the ladybird life cycle and ecology
  • Know how to survey for ladybirds
  • Identify the larvae of conspicuous ladybirds

Who should attend? – This course is suitable for anyone with an interest in ladybirds.

Prior knowledge – No prior knowledge is required, just a willingness to explore and learn.

Knowledge level – Beginner. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

PLEASE NOTE: There is no accommodation, refreshments, or meal facilities provided with this course. If we are unable to reach viable numbers for this course, we will inform you of the course cancellation 4-5 weeks prior to the course run. We would recommend when purchasing accommodation and/or travel you should take out your own insurance.

Bookings will close if course capacity is reached.

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

About the Tutor

Richard Comont

Richard has been interested in wildlife, especially insects, from a very early age and developed a further interest in wildlife recording through working at the national Biological Records Centre.  He earned a BSc in Ecology from the University of Plymouth and a PhD from the university of Oxford studying the Harlequin ladybird and its impact on native ladybird species. He has led training in identification and recording of various insect groups, especially ladybirds and bumblebees, for more than a decade and has authored several natural history books, including the Naturalists’ Handbook on ladybirds and the Spotlight Guide to ladybirds.  He was awarded the 2016 Gilbert White Adult Award for Terrestrial and Freshwater Biological Recording in recognition of his recording and training work.

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give a clear outline of what to expect.

  • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 10:00
  • The course will end at 17:00

10:00 Welcome, introductions – Previous experience of ladybirds & reason for interest
10:20 Indoors session – ladybird ecology
11:00 Coffee break (refreshments not provided)
11:20 Ladybird ID
12:45 Lunch (not provided)
13:45 Field session
16:45 Wrap-up
17:00 Depart

Please note accommodation, refreshments and an evening meal are not included.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you build your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

Bursaries and Subsidies

Student Discount

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Natural History Bursaries

There are a number of natural history bursaries available to help with the cost of your course. To find out if you and your chosen course are eligible, read more here.

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors
  • Small bag to carry personal items

Recommended Literature

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

Opportunities to attend this course

This course is not currently available to book. Dates will follow soon.

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Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, delivered by expert tutors with an approachable learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions or email [email protected].

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.