Harlequin Ladybird

Found this wee beastie in the garden. A bishy barny bee as they say in Norfolk. But this is no ordinary ladybird, it’s a Harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, a voracious invader from Asia. Sometime in the 1980s farmers in the U.S. began introducing the Harlequin to North America to control the aphids that were feeding on their crops. Seemed a good idea at the time. The Harlequin did indeed eat the aphids but also the eggs and larvae of native ladybirds and the eggs and caterpillars of moths and butterflies. Later it was released in Europe and in 2004 it arrived in Britain, possibly blown over here by winds.

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one, and her name is Ann,
And she hid under the baking pan.

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