By Erin Richardson. Asian lady beetles are a problem every fall. Not just in Thompson's Station, but throughout our Middle Tennessee service area.
Large numbers of lady beetles ladybugs infesting homes and buildings in the United States were first reported in the early s. Ladybugs normally are considered beneficial since they live outdoors and feed on plant pests. Once inside they crawl about on windows, walls, attics, etc.
Asian Lady Beetle vs Ladybug. Asian Lady Beetles have varied colors and are generally larger in size. The two varieties both share the same Kingdom, Phylum, Class, and Order.
Invasive species from Eastern Asia uses microsporidia in order to out-compete native lady beetles. Once introduced for biological pest control, Asian lady beetle Harmonia axyridis populations have been increasing uncontrollably in the US and Europe since the turn of the millennium. The species has been proliferating rapidly in Germany; conservationists fear that the Asian lady beetle will out-compete native beetle species.
Asian Lady Beetle. A native of Asia, this beneficial ladybug was imported in the early 's to help naturally control pest populations that were damaging such crops as alfalfa, pecan and citrus trees. The beneficial aspects of this ladybug have been quite useful in reducing the need for pesticides and have relieved the hardwood forests of many disease carrying aphids, mites and scale insects.
The Asian lady beetle is an invasive species and is even a threat to its more benign indigenous ladybug cousin. Asian lady beetles were brought into the United States in large numbers in the s to protect orchards from destructive insects, aphids in particular. They then headed north, reaching Canada.
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Different species of ladybugs — Losey calls them "lady beetles" because these "bugs" are actually members of the beetle family — have distinct markings, and Losey said project team members can almost always identify the species regardless of the quality of the photo. Another important consideration for citizen scientists, Losey added, is don't just look for species that are rare. Once a common presence in gardens, the 9-spotted ladybug has become a rare sight.