Rescuing ladybirds in the lab

Posted on December 16, 2014 by

Denizens of the Phonetics Lab have come up with a new way to be environmentally responsible!

The Phonetics Lab has become a destination of choice for ladybirds, who want to find somewhere safe to hibernate. Unfortunately, the lab isn’t a great place for them to do so. The heating in buildings can wake them up prematurely, in which case they are likely to starve to death; or they might dry out. The long term prognosis for lab ladybirds is in any case not great. (Not to mention that ladybirds are hardly conducive to phonetic experimentation.)

Lab assistant Michaela Hejná decided to remedy this by building a house for the ladybirds on the outside of the windowsill. This sort of house is ideal for ladybirds to sleep in, as it is safe and dry but not too warm. Now, whenever lab users find a peregrinatory ladybird, they can carefully shift it outside to sleep with its little friends.

The house project was carried out in conjunction with undergraduates Sarah Mahmood and Ziyuan Pan.

Featured image: the ladybird house. Photo by Ziyuan Pan.