The Harlequin Ladybird
The Harlequin Ladybird or Harmonia axyridis is one of the most invasive insect species in the world. The Harlequin Ladybird arrived in Britain in 2002, it took less than a decade to spread throughout the UK. Harlequin ladybirds were introduced to North America as a biological control for aphids in 1988 however they soon became the most common ladybird in the United States.
Harlequin Ladybirds are especially dangerous because they eat the food that the other Ladybirds eat as well as eating Ladybird eggs and larvae and even the eggs and caterpillars of moths and butterflies. The Harlequin Ladybirds have such big appetites that native ladybirds struggle to find food.
This picture shows a Harlequin Ladybird, they are bigger than native ladybirds however they have very variable appearances so are hard to spot. The second picture shows the Harlequin Ladybird larvae.
The link above shows all the different types of Harlequin Ladybird patterns.
KMBRC’s oldest record of the Harlequin Ladybird dates back to 2002 in River Len, Fauna. KMBRC have 1070 records of the Harlequin Ladybird to date.
If you spot a Harlequin Ladybird you should report it to us. It is important to report it so that we can record where it was spotted, make sure the Harlequin Ladybird doesn’t spread and control the number of Harlequin Ladybirds in the UK.
This is a graph to show the number of Harlequin Ladybirds each year.