Green Fingers I Wish

Friday, August 11, 2006

Ladybirds

Ladybirds are often one of the gardeners best friends. Here`s some information about ladybirds, with a look at some of the more common ones in the U.K.

Latin name: Adalia bipunctata

Size: Approximately 5mms long

Distribution: Found throughout the U.K.

Months seen: March to October

Food: Aphids

Habitat: Fields, parks, gardens and woods.

Special features: Colours can vary greatly. Some specimens have black wing casings with red spots.

By introducing ladybirds from May onwards (temperature should be above 10°c / 50°f) you can increase the number of these beneficial insects in your garden. Each ladybird will eat approximately 5000 aphids and will soon produce ladybird larvae which in turn also eat aphids

The Coccinellidae is perhaps the best-known family among our native beetles (Coleoptera), because it contains the brightly coloured ladybirds. There are nearly 100 species of ladybirds found in Europe and about 40 of these are resident in the British Isles.

The commonest species in most localities are the two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata) and the larger seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata). The largest of the native British species is the eyed ladybird (Anatis ocellata), found in conifer forests and plantations. The black spots on the back of this species each have a distinct yellow boarder or halo, giving the appearance of 'eyes'. Hence its common name of eyed ladybird.

These, and many other ladybirds, are voracious predators, feeding in both larval and adult stages on aphids (greenfly), coccids (scale insects), mealybugs, whitefly and, occasionally, on other insect pests of garden and crop plants. Indeed, some predatory ladybirds, such as species of Cryptolaemus and Delphastus, are mass-reared on a commercial scale for use as biological control agents against mealybug and whitefly infestations in greenhouses.



4 Comments:

  • A new ladybird arrived in Britain a few years ago by the name of the Harlequin Ladybird. It`s been described as the most invasive ladybird on Earth. It`s a threat to other ladybirds, as well as lacewings and other insects. That`s partly because they eat up the same foods that the other insects eat, and because they actually eat the insects themselves.

    Apparently it was introduced to America from Asia to help control aphids but they`ve become a pest rather than a help in many areas.

    By Anonymous lynette, at 9:39 pm  

  • wow, that`s amazing, i never knew that there were some nasty ladybirds like that who ate other ones!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:08 am  

  • Wow..I too didn't know that there are Cannibalistic little beggars!! I always said they bite and nobody believed me..they should read this Blog...

    By Anonymous Norma, at 8:38 am  

  • Hmm, next time I allow one to crawl on my hand I think I`ll look out after to see if all my fingers are still there.

    By Blogger dex, at 3:46 pm  

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