Sunday, November 09, 2014

The enemy.

Today is Remembrance Sunday.  This year is a particularly special year as it is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.  Since I arrived home on the 29th of October I have been wearing my poppy, (the emblem of the poppies that bloomed across the battlefields of Flanders), with pride. 
I used to love Poppy Day when I was a kid and I couldn't wait to place a small, kid-sized remittance in the familiar red collection box, a donation to benefit ex-servicemen and women.  In return I'd receive my red paper poppy with it's black plastic centre that I wore with enthusiasm.  The Royal British Legion raises a lot of money in their annual poppy appeal which funds their work with the Armed Forces community.  The ladybird in the photograph looks like it is sporting a brilliant red poppy on it's elytra in honour of the war dead.  It looks cute.  But looks can be deceiving.
The harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis), a non-native species, is invading the British Isles.  The harlequin was first spotted here in 2004 and has quickly become one of the most common ladybirds in the country. The invasive harlequin is a rather large species of ladybird and it is a voracious predator, it is able to out-compete the native species for aphids and will also eat other ladybirds' eggs and larvae.  Not good.  The harlequins are clustered in large numbers around window and door frames and in any available nooks and crannies where they hope to overwinter.  Their numbers are quite impressive outdoors and inside: my bedroom and bathroom (at Thud's house) have been invaded also.  They're cute, but like The hun they are persona non grata here.  The world is an increasingly smaller place and invasive species hitchhiking around the globe is increasingly problematic.  I will definitely check my bags when I leave here later this week.
Lest we forget.


Thud said...

I'll just pack a sprog or two in there for you.

Vinogirl said...

Thud: No thanks, the only babies I want to take back to the U.S. are 'Jelly Babies'!

Thomas said...

We used to have cluster fly problems in the Finger Lakes region; flies that live about a day. They are sluggish, easily captured almost by hand, and damned prolific. They breed in window and door sills. The only way to control them was the vacuum cleaner.

A few years ago, we noticed the cluster fly problem had diminished. At the same time, we started to see more and more lady bugs (that's what we call them here). The ladybugs ate the larvae of the prolific cluster flies and now the ladybugs reproduce prolifically and like Thud's home, they pop out all over our place whenever the sun beats down on the house.

The vacuum cleaner works overtime.

VG: can you get blogger to give you a different captcha method? I can;t make out half the ones they pout up.

I have to say, the captcha culutre is seriously affecting my desire to comment on blogs.

Thomas said...

Oh well, the captcha wasn't supposed to be there anyway. It isn't for this comment.

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: Do you know what species of "ladybug" your ladybugs are? Apparently, the harlequins, originally from Asia, were introduced into the USA in the late 80s. I wonder if that is what they are.
No 'Captcha' on Vinsanity, don't believe in making life difficult for folks on my blog.

Thomas said...

VG: I believe the harlequins are the ones that scientists are finding washing up on the shores of the Great Lakes. The ones here are known as Finger Lakes labybugs--I have no idea what their scientific name is, just as long as they are swept up by the vacuum.

For that last comment, I was asked to fill in a captcha, which i could hardly make out. After I hit send, I noticed that the google account for me was not checked; I don;t know why that was so, but it was.

I really hate what google is doing with its power. Because of google, I am being forced to buy a new computer, because google no longer supports this operating system and I am being blocked from functioning properly on a variety of websites coded to google's specifications.

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: Finger Lake ladybugs, well that's appropriate.
I really can't say that I have ever had any real problems with Google. It doesn't support my Flickr account, but it's no big deal. I will check my settings and try to make commenting on my blog as pain free as possible.

Thomas said...

Oh, it's pain free with a google account, as long as google doesn't forget that I have a google account and am signed up here as a google account holder.

Google has a motto: do no evil. If I had to grade the company on that basis, it would not be A, B, or C.

New Hampshire Wineman said...

Thomas: In the Google brain, the mix-up is: Sooo long ago was "Vinogirl and I clash", vs. a plethora of posts filled with dreamy pictures of Napa and the English hillsides; with your post and blog beciming a nightmare to forget, and VG's a fantasy come true ;-)
Seriously! That's weird, and Google is frighteningly big, as BIG as BIG government!

Thomas said...

Dennis, it was so long ago that for a minute I had no idea what you were talking about ;)

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: So you'd grade Google as an E, for evil? Hee, hee.

NHW: But I thought bigger was always better :)