Why are all the ladybugs in the lights?

After my groups recent attempt to find nine spotted ladybugs around WCC’s campus for our citizen science project,  my group and I made an odd discovery. We were having no luck finding ladybugs outside, only inside of the ceiling lights.

A large amount of ladybugs in the ceiling lights in Mr. Longs classroom.

A large amount of ladybugs in the ceiling lights in Mr. Longs classroom.

A lot of research went into making sure we were looking in the right places for the ladybugs outdoors. The ladybugs we were looking for were most commonly found in fields, crops, and in wild flowers. The locations that were available on campus for us to look for the ladybugs, were mostly areas by small ponds with lots of wildflowers. After thoroughly searching through all of the wildflowers we could find, we came out with no ladybugs. My group and I nearly gave up on our search for ladybugs on campus and accepted that there were none, until we were sitting in our classroom and realized that there were mass amounts of ladybugs in the ceiling lights.

This made me wonder, “Why inside the lights?”. I was very curious. The weather seemed to be right, for they’re usually found outside in early summer. My first thought was, “Maybe it’s not warm enough yet, they’re attracted to somewhere warm.” Even though it is early summer, maybe it’s not the right temperature. After doing research, I found out that I was on the right track. During the winter time the ladybugs are attracted to the heat that buildings, and especially lights, give off. All the ladybugs that we found in the lights were dead, so this makes sense. These ladybugs must’ve moved here in the winter and died in the lights.

Another thought I had was that maybe the ladybugs are attracted to the light, similar to moths or other bugs. I found out that ladybugs are attracted to light colors, so they were probably attracted to the white color of the light bulbs. Since ladybugs are attracted to warmth and light colors, the lights in the ceilings are a perfect place for them to go. Although all the ladybugs in the lights were dead, now I know why they were there in the first place. All of the ladybugs in the lights are most likely from the winter time, so where are they now? This is still our question.