Ladybirds mating on an apple tree infested with aphids

Daily Walk in Difficult Times 56

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Ladybirds in the Community Orchard are doing us a great favour by eating all the aphids that are sucking the life out of the leaves and shrivelling them up, particularly on the apple trees at the moment. Now and again they take time out for rest and procreation. I saw one odd couple in flagrante delicto. One was red with many black spots. The other was black with four red spots. I thought it was strange that two separate types were mating, but after a bit of research, I am wondering if these are Harlequin Ladybirds (Harmonia axyridis) which are an invasive species. They have a wide variety of colours and patterns encompassing the designs of the two that I photographed. Maybe someone reading this has an opinion on the matter and could confirm or repudiate this idea? If these are Harlequin Ladybirds, then they are associated with problems relating to competition with our native species.

4 Replies to “Daily Walk in Difficult Times 56”

  1. They were imported to fight aphids in greenhouses from which they ran some years ago. They can eat more different things than the normal ladybird, are immune to most diseases and live longer into cold temperatures. They are mildly poisonous to small animals. We have a lot of them around here, but NABU is still not sure whether they compete with the domestic species.

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