Cornell University wants you to find and photograph ladybugs. John Losey, a professor of entomology at Cornell University, hopes children will help document ladybug populations around the country. Some native species are dwindling, while exotics are on the rise.
Here's a paragraph from the Lost Ladybug Project web site:
Over the past twenty years several native ladybug species that were once very common have become extremely rare.... During this same time several species of ladybugs from other places have greatly increased both their numbers and range. Besides being incredibly cool and charismatic ladybugs are also essential predators in both farms and forests that keep us from being overrun with pests (like aphids and mealybugs). In many areas the native ladybugs are being replaced by exotic ones. This has happened very quickly and we don't know how this shift happened, what impact it will have (e.g. will the exotic species be able to control pests as well as our familiar native ones always have) and how we can prevent more native species from becoming so rare.Visit the site to learn more about participating in the project (click the above link).
For more information about the beneficial laboring ladybug, read my October 20, 2007, post Ladybugs and Gardening.