LADYBIRDS have been invading British homes in the past few days, with people reporting "swarms" of insects in their properties.
Many have taken to social media to say they found high numbers of insects near their doors, windows or walls.
Although ladybirds are not poisonous to humans, they can be harmful to small pets such as lizards and birds if eaten.
When threatened, they secrete a fluid from the joints of their legs which wards off predators.
Ladybirds hunt aphids, mites, and scale, which are considered pests for gardens – and for this reason, they are referred to as "gardener's best friend".
The insects are completely harmless to people and for this reason, experts recommend leaving them alone if you find them in your house.
On Twitter, several people have reported noticing a growing number of ladybirds at home.
A woman tweeted: "I just counted 17 ladybirds walking up the wall of my house and another 20 have just flown by! What's going on?"
Another posted a video showing numerous ladybirds on their front door, with the caption: "Invasion of the ladybirds."
One more wrote: "What a stunning day today…apart from the ladybird invasion…"
A person added: "The fact that there are 25 ladybirds just vibing in my room somewhere rn is a little creepy but also fun."
And another Twitter user commented: "I liked ladybirds before but now there's a collective of them in my doorway and they're a bit much as a group."
Ecologist Dean Wilson, from Horticulture, explained the "invasion" is likely to be short-lived and is expected to end within a week.
The reason why Brits have noticed more ladybirds than usual in their homes is that as the weather gets cooler between the end of September and the beginning of October, the insects look for warm spots to hibernate.
They usually hide in groups, meaning that if you see one around, there will probably be more nearby.
Mr Wilson explained: "It’s likely surprising to see so many ladybirds at once, but they’re not here to take over and it’s likely that they’ll be gone as quickly as they arrived.
"I wouldn’t expect the 'swarms' to stay for longer than one week at the most."
He added: "We have very little to fear from ladybirds. They are completely harmless – they’ll likely overwinter in a dormant state in or around your home during winter – then fly away in spring to find food and mate.
"I would encourage the general public to enjoy the spectacle and be thankful for the range of benefits ladybirds bring to the garden."
Ladybirds are among the best-known and most loved beetles, with their bright colours ranging from bright red with black spots to black and yellow, white and brown or even striped.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) explains: "During the winter adults hibernate in cracks, crevices and leaf litter and emerge in April to find a mate.
"Females lay eggs that hatch after about four days, depending on the temperature.
"The steely-blue larvae with creamy-yellow spots do not resemble the adults. They eat aphids voraciously.
"After several moults over the course of a few months, they emerge as adults to feed for a few weeks before seeking a sheltered spot to hibernate."
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