Harlequin Ladybirds

Tuesday, February 7th 2012

First spotted in the UK in 2004, the Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) has undergone a population explosion.  Successive wet summers have provided ideal conditions for them to breed, and once confined to south-east England, they are now found as far north as Scotland.  Having virtually no predators, due to much higher levels of toxins than other ladybirds, also being less susceptible to infections and parasites than native ladybirds has helped fuel the rapid population growth. 

They show a huge variation in colouring and marking. 75% of Harlequins are orange with 15-21 black spots though some are yellow, some red and others black.

This insect is a top predator within its food web, and interacts with many other species.  Researchers have stated that it poses a major threat to all 45 of the UK's native ladybird species, with over 1000 other species also detrimentally affected.

They feed most commonly on aphids, though when this food supply runs low they also eat other ladybird eggs, larvae and pupae, butterfly and moth eggs and caterpillars.  Larger than most and with a wider food range they are able to outcompete the majority of our native ladybirds, in particular the Two-Spot (Adalia bipunctata), whose population fell by 44% in the UK in the five years following the Harlequin's arrival.

Not only a problem to wildlife, there have been reports of infestations of sometimes thousands of these ladybirds in homes.  Harlequins in houses, woken from dormancy by central heating, may bite people as there is no food available. The bites usually produce a small bump and sting slightly.

Luckily these have not been seen on the reserve, where we have 12 native species recorded.  If you spot any please report them to The Harlequin Ladybird Survey which monitors their numbers and spread though the UK.

The snow has started to thaw and volunteers were able to continue with tree planting. At the end of the day the mist came in from the moor and it seemed very dark. The access road is much better today but please note that due to maintenance work on the barrier, access to the reserve will be via Bourlon Barracks on Plumer Road tomorrow.

Winter Scene


(0) Comments:

There are no comments for this blog post yet. Why not start the discussion? - use the form below:


Leave a Comment:

Please complete this field, it's required. Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?


Back to Top

Help Support Foxglove

Friends of Foxglove

The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

More Details

Upcoming Events


Owl Pellet Discovery - CANCELLED

Wednesday 8th April 2020 | 10.30am start

The events programme has been temporarily withdrawn. For up to date information this website, FaceBook and other forms of social media should be consulted. If you have donated in advance to secure a place on an event you will be contacted over the next few days and offered a refund. We apologise for this inconvenience.

Come and learn all about the different  owl species that live in North Yorkshire. Find out what they eat by dissecting their pellets and identifying the contents.  Recommended for ages 7 years upwards. 

Booking is essential as places are limited.

Suggested minimum donation of £5 per person. Please donate in advance to secure a place.

This event is free for Volunteers and Friends of the reserve.



Richmond Coffee Morning - POSTPONED

Thursday 9th April 2020 | 9.00am - 12 noon

Due to the current situation, the coffee morning has been postponed. The next is planned for October 22nd.

Come and enjoy a relaxing cup of tea or coffee and a 'sticky' at Richmond Town Hall.  There will be a raffle, tombola and a stall selling delicious homemade cakes!  All proceeds from this fundraising event go towards the running costs of the reserve. 

If you would like to donate any cakes or items for the raffle or tombola please take them to the field centre beforehand or to Richmond Town Hall on the day.  No need to book, just turn up!



VIEW ALL EVENTS

Undergrowth Newsletter




The Dragonflies of Strensall and Foxglove Covert
{alt}

This book has been published with the aim of enabling people visiting these, immensely important Flagship Pond Sites in North Yorkshire, to identify the dragonflies and damselflies they encounter - by reference to a simple text and photographs. Credits - Yorkshire Dragonfly Group & Freshwater Habitats Trust

Read this Issue


View All The Newsletters

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Archive