Wednesday 2 November 2016

What to do if see an STI carrying ladybirds?


The distinctive black and red Harlequin ladybirds, swept in from Asia and North America, have been turning up in people’s living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms, as well as colonising parks and woodland areas.

One family we spoke to reported being ‘divebombed’ by groups of the ladybirds as they walked in their local park, with the creatures flying at their faces, landing on their clothes and crawling down their necks.

They were introduced to North America on purpose as pest control for aphids, but are believed to have arrived in the UK accidentally via timber or plants.

While they may look fascinating though, these larger Harlequin ladybirds pose a threat to our native ladybird species.

As well as the sexually transmitted fungus they carry – which has as yet not been transmitted to native ladybirds – they are also known to eat the young of native British ladybirds and compete with them for food.

The Harlequin ladybirds are, say experts, yet another threat to the numbers of native ladybirds which are already in decline.

So, what should you do if you see one?

Well, according to an expert we spoke to it’s best not to go all bug-killing vigilante.

That’s because both native and invasive ladybirds come in many different colours, so it’s easy to confuse them.

‘We tell people to leave them alone rather than kill them because we don’t want people squidging native ladybirds,’ Jamie Robins, conservation officer for Buglife, told

‘They often get together in groups and find somewhere sheltered to hide out,’ Jamie said. ‘They hunker down and wait for the warm weather to come again.

If people don’t want them in their house, they can remove them by putting them under a glass with paper underneath, then taking them outside.

If you’re worried for the native ladybird, the best thing to do is report the sighting to the Ladybird Recording Survey, which has developed an app letting you notify where you have seen the bugs, along with GPS coordinates.

While there are currently many of the beetles in parkland, you’ll be increasingly likely to see them coming indoors at this time of year as they are looking for somewhere sheltered to spend the winter – and your living room is ideal.

Jamie is keen to add that the ladybirds of both sorts are harmless to humans. ‘If they are bothering you, get them under a glass and carry them outside into the garden. It’s still mild so they can find somewhere else to shelter.’

*** Metro UK



Etiam at libero iaculis, mollis justo non, blandit augue. Vestibulum sit amet sodales est, a lacinia ex. Suspendisse vel enim sagittis, volutpat sem eget, condimentum sem.