Bees receive most of the buzz for disappearing en masse, so it may come as a surprise that ladybugs are doing a vanishing act of their own, as well. Once a ubiquitous sight, the pest-feasting beetles are facing sharp declines across North America, with some varieties virtually nonexistent west of the Mississippi. After watching similar stories unfold in Belgium, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom—where seven of eight native species have dropped off in dangerously large numbers—Catherine Verpoort of Central Saint Martins leaped into action, designing a “textile landscape” to help ladybug populations thrive even in the harshest of urban environments.
FLY AWAY HOME
Verpoort considers herself a “true urbanite,” but she finds nature’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances an inspiration. “Many insects now seek nourishment and shelter in cities due to loss of habitat in the countryside,” Verpoort says. “Due to overmaintenance of public parks and private gardens in cities, generally insufficient territorial space is left available for insects.”
Habitat loss in the countryside is driving ladybugs to seek nourishment and shelter in cities.
Framed in the form of a kit, her “Urban Ladybird Habitat” provides a haven for the critters to feed, hibernate, and otherwise regroup in an unobtrusive manner. “Natural, environmentally friendly materials and textile techniques enabled me to create fully functional habitats for ladybirds, which underline the idea of bringing natural elements back into the urban landscape,” she adds.