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Multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis)—This insect has a wider range of colors and spot numbers than other lady beetle species. Wings range from black to mustard; spots number zero to many. The most common U.S. form is mustard to red with 16 or more black spots.
Asian Lady Beetle Information Available on InternetBy Tara Weaver-Missick
October 30, 2000
Consumer information on multicolored Asian lady beetles (Harmonia axyridis) is now available from the Agricultural Research Service on the Internet.
Materials located on the ARS Information Staff's website include a homeowner fact sheet about the beetles, as well as instructions and a schematic for building an indoor blacklight trap that captures flying beetles entering homes.
The trap was invented by an ARS scientist in Georgia as a way to help collect this beneficial insect--which feeds on crop-damaging insects like aphids, scales, and other soft-bodied arthropods--without harming the beetles. In previous ARS tests, the trap captured nearly 100 percent of the beetles.
Asian lady beetles try to enter homes and dwellings in the fall while looking for a warm place to spend the winter. In large numbers, they can become a problem for homeowners. When the bugs are agitated they secrete a bright yellow substance (a stress response) that stains walls and fabrics, which can damage a homeowner's possessions. The fact sheet gives helpful tips on keeping the beetles out of the home.
ARS is making the instructions on building the trap accessible on the Web with hopes that companies will build this much-needed trap. No patents, licenses or other restrictions apply to using this technology. Companies making the trap are asked, however, to contact ARS to be added to a "trap builders list" that will be available as a resource for the general public.
ARS is the chief scientific agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
More Information About Harmonia Lady Beetles
Camphor Curbs Asian Lady Beetles (ARS News).
"The Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle" (ARS Fact Sheet).
A March 1995 story in Agricultural Research magazine discusses Harmonia and several other non-native lady beetle species.
Lady Beetle Trap. PDF (portable document format) file with technical directions and diagrams for a trap developed by ARS scientists. Click here if you need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader for PDF files.
Additional information and guidance may be available from state and local Cooperative Extension system agents and scientists. Extension phone numbers are listed in local directories.
On the Internet, Cooperative Extension contacts at state land-grant universities can be found by following the links at the "State Partners" page of the web site of the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. The "State Partners" page is at http://www.reeusda.gov/1700/statepartners/usa.htm.
An ARS scientific research contact is Ted E. Cottrell of the ARS Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory, Byron, Ga., firstname.lastname@example.org.