Natural enemies of exotic Asian ladybird discovered in the Netherlands

March 4, 2014 by Cl (Lidwien) Raak-Van Den Berg
Natural enemies of exotic Asian ladybird discovered in the Netherlands
Credit: Nina Fatouros, Bugs in the Picture

Despite initial fears to the contrary, it appears that the exotic Multi-coloured Asian ladybird does have natural enemies in the Netherlands. Wageningen researcher Lidwien Raak-Van den Berg and colleagues recently announced this discovery. Several years after the first record of the Asian ladybird, these natural enemies appear to have made the switch from native ladybirds to the exotic species. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Wageningen UR with colleagues from Tilburg (the Netherlands) and Harvard (USA), was published in the journal BioControl.

The Multi-coloured Asian ladybird (Harmonia axydiris) is not native to Europe, but was introduced to control aphid infestations. Because the insect did not have any initially, it was able to spread rapidly. H. axydiris poses a threat to the native ladybird, but has negative effects on fruit production and causes allergic reactions in humans.

Effect fungi and nematodes in beetle populations

In their study of the history of the Asian ladybird since its introduction in Europe and how it has managed to establish itself successfully, Lidwien Raak and her discovered a number of natural enemies. These began to emerge several years after the establishment of the ladybird. It concerned fungi, nematodes and, to a lesser extent, mites. The researchers found high levels of fungal infection in the exotic ladybird. In addition, nematodes (parasitic roundworms) were found in almost every population.

Credit: André de Kesel)

At this stage the researchers cannot specify the effect of the fungi and nematodes on the exotic ladybird populations. However, there is strong evidence that females infected with nematodes no longer lay eggs. Lidwien Raak: "Perhaps the use of nematodes is a good way to suppress the H. axydiris population to a certain extent."

Explore further: Introduction of Asian ladybirds into Europe serious mistake

Related Stories

Introduction of Asian ladybirds into Europe serious mistake

July 31, 2012

In retrospect, introducing the Asian ladybird into Europe was a serious mistake. The insect was introduced some twenty years ago in a conscious attempt to combat aphids. But research carried out at Wageningen UR (University ...

Ladybirds - wolves in sheep's clothing

June 24, 2011

( -- CSIRO research has revealed that the tremendous diversity of ladybird beetle species is linked to their ability to produce larvae which, with impunity, poach members of 'herds' of tiny, soft-bodied scale ...

Recommended for you

Ten months in the air without landing

October 27, 2016

Common swifts are known for their impressive aerial abilities, capturing food and nest material while in flight. Now, by attaching data loggers to the birds, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology ...

Study shows mixed fortunes for Signy penguins

October 27, 2016

A forty year study on a remote Antarctic island shows that while populations of two penguin species are declining, a third is increasing. Analysis of census data from Signy Island in the South Orkney Islands reveals that, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.