Europe, the United States, Montreal, Quebec, and neighboring regions have been experiencing a spectacular invasion of Asian ladybugs for several years now. According to entomologists, these insects have been introduced to the United States by boats back in 1988, and then transferred to Quebec.
What Does The Asian Ladybug Look Like?
The Asian ladybug is much larger than her cousin, the regular ladybug, and can usually reach 7mm. The color of its elytra is variable, ranging from light orange to black through red. The same applies to the number of spots that can be counted up to 19.
The motives of the pronotum (dorsal surface of the thorax) are in the shape of a cat’s paw: 1 black central spot surrounded by 4 black semicircle spots.
Its legs are usually yellow to light brown. It is difficult sometimes to differentiate it from other ladybug species.
On the other hand, the identification of the larvae is easier. The larvae are black or gray with two orange dorsal bands. They can measure nearly 10mm and are covered with soft spines.
Where Do Asian Ladybugs Come From?
As its name suggests, this ladybug is an exotic species that comes from Asia, native to China and Japan, but also Siberia. It was introduced in other parts of the world in the 1980s, for a specific purpose – to fight the aphids.
Their reproduction is quite fast. The female ladybug can lay about a hundred eggs a year.
The Lifestyle Of Asian Ladybugs
The main food of the Asian ladybug, or Harmonia axyridis, is the aphids. But also, it feeds on other insects, eggs, and larvae of its ladybug cousins. In the spring, this insect also eats pollen.
The ladybug lives about two years, and in winter, it takes shelter in houses because it dies at a temperature of -20°C.
What Are Its Effects On The Environment?
Asian ladybugs are considered an invasive insect. The rapid reproduction poses a problem for the equilibrium of the ecosystem, and moreover, it threatens the other species of ladybugs that find themselves competing for space and food. The Asian ladybug is cannibalistic and feeds on larvae of other ladybugs. Also, it can be invasive and colonize homes in winter in literally thousands in number.
Even though they are not really dangerous for humans, their bite can cause skin irritation and itching. Also, they emit a yellowish substance and a bad odor, which can sometimes be toxic to small pets.
Ways To Fight The Asian Ladybug
The first tip is to caulk the doors and windows, and all the interstices, to prevent the insects from taking refuge in your home. Even though there’s no great threat to the human health, their number can be really troublesome and cause you everyday problems. You can find these small insects in your pantry, your plates, your food, etc.
Then you’ll have to do a complete cleaning of the cupboards. If you want to stay toxic-free and away from pesticides, probably, the best solution for you is vacuuming.
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