Look Up, Look Down: Ladybugs… Why Not Fly Home?

This week in the Look Up, Look Down Challenge I am featuring ladybugs.

Well, maybe not ladybugs … but one ladybug.


I spent 2011 taking a photo a day of my surroundings and experiences and created a visual biography of that year. I have a number of photos that I put into the class of “looking down”. I saw this little lady out on the VERY hot sidewalk making her way slowly across it one day. I wondered why she wasn’t flying.

Does anyone remember the nursery rhyme about ladybugs? I pulled out the very well-worn book I was brought up on, Marguerite de Angeli’s Book of Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes (1954 edition), and this is the version she included:

Fly Away Home

No wonder the ladybug wasn’t flying… she didn’t want to return to a burned house with all her children gone! I did some research and found out more at Ladybird Ladybird on Ask.com. This is the version the author featured and then a possible explanation of the rhyme.

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire;
Your children all roam.
Except little Nan
Who sits in her pan
Weaving her laces as fast as she can.

This little Nan version could be a reference to the habit of setting fires to smoke the bugs out of plants. It caused the ladybugs to fly away. The younger insects, in maggot form, would have to crawl away. Thus “your children all roam”. The insects in pupate form, within their shells, would not be able to flee the danger and thus would die from the smoke or fire. The idea is that Nan is within her pupal case and cannot flee until she breaks free – “weaving her laces”, undoing her pupal case.

I don’t know why my little ladybug was making such an arduous journey over this hot pavement, but I rescued her and placed her on the moist lawn after I captured the photograph. Perhaps from there she went home to help little Nan. 😉

As always I welcome your comments on this or any other part of my blog.


See more great Looking Up and Looking Down photos at the blog Travel with Intent.


6 thoughts on “Look Up, Look Down: Ladybugs… Why Not Fly Home?

  1. Meghan Post author

    Thank you Debbie! Yes, the book is very special… I would guess I’ll have a post about that someday. It’s dog eared and stained but holds so many treasured memories. Thank you for coming by, and for the great challenge.

  2. Sonel

    Awwww, you save the ladybugs as well Meghan! Cool! 😀
    They are so cute and adorable and around here I am forever fishing them out of the swimming pool. 🙂
    Great shot and post hon. 😀

  3. Meghan Post author

    Thank you so much Y.P. I was amazed myself how much detail I captured in this one. I’m going to have to get my Lumix FZ35 out again (this shot was taken with it). I’ve been doing way too much with my iPhone.

  4. Y.P.

    Wow- that is such a clear shot of the ladybug – you can even see the ridges in this “older” ladybugs wings – it is also very cool the way you showed so much of the stuff in the sidewalk crack – nice.

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