OAKLAND — The annual spectacle involving tens of thousands of ladybugs, or a loveliness, converging near two specific trails in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is underway now through mid-February.
These ladybugs from the Bay Area lowlands fly away with the prevailing winds to the east when fall arrives before they settle down in numerous places in the East Bay hills to hibernate, including the junction of the Stream and Prince trails, according to East Bay Regional Parks District.
The convergent beetles (Hippodamia convergens) huddle together on objects like bushes, logs, fence posts and underneath leaves. This annual crimson and black polka-dotted pageant is likely the result of previous generations of ladybugs and their aggregation pheromones — scent markers left behind on the ground — attracting the beetles that are converging this year, according to the National Park Service.
The lady beetles overwinter at higher elevations in a state of diapause, or suspended development in their life cycle, and don’t typically live longer than a few months to a year.
You can hike directly to the ladybugs from the Stream Trail entrances at the Canyon Meadow staging area off Redwood Road and the Skyline Gate staging area near the intersection of Pine Hills Drive and Skyline Boulevard.
Ladybug fun facts • There are about 175 species of ladybugs in California, 5,000 in the world, and they come in many colors. • Ladybugs can beat their wings about 85 times per second. • When disturbed, they can emit a toxic, yellow liquid out of their leg joints.
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