December 01, 2014

Do Ladybugs Bite?

The common red ladybug with 7 black spots, Coccinella septempunctata, native to the US does not bite, or at least I cannot find any evidence of their biting.

Asian lady beetle

The multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis was introduced to the US some years ago as a deterrent to aphids. Described as multicolored, most of what I see are the famous Auburn orange. Our native lady bugs are UGA and U AL red and black.

Will Auburn University ever learn? (I did not find a confession on any Auburn site, they just mention that the bugs 'were introduced' but I had it on good authority from my son who graduated from Georgia Tech that Auburn scientists were the guilty parties. Ohio State does not point any fingers, but are careful to say that while Asian lady beetles were released in Ohio, it was not done by their university scientists.

There is controversy over whether these critters bite? I have a whelp on my neck that I am sure was caused by an Asian lady beetle because I brushed him off and saw the thing. They are not venomous but can cause an allergic reaction.

Asian lady beetles do harbor a fungus that is lethal to our native ladybugs but not to the invading hosts.

This is the best source I found for both history and control of Asian lady beetles:

The REAL ladybugs, the native kind, are in hiding now, outside. When they venture out and about during a warm spell, they do not bite. The imports are swarming around doorways, seeking entrance to homes and greenhouses, biting unsuspecting gardeners who may be allergic and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

1 comment:

outlawgardener said...

Funny that you posted about lady bugs today. On Sunday, as I was directing the choir, a ladybug walked up the page of my music and made it onto the stand by the time I had to turn the page. I brought her home and let her go in the greenhouse.

I Blog Here & Here too