Location: Biological Control of Pests ResearchTitle: Spotlight on the positive effects of the ladybird Harmonia axyridis on agriculture
Submitted to: BioControl
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/10/2016
Publication Date: 5/11/2017
Citation: Riddick, E.W. 2017. Spotlight on the positive effects of the ladybird Harmonia axyridis on agriculture. Biocontrol. 62(3):319-330.
Interpretive Summary: In recent years, research has focused on the negative effects of the ladybird Harmonia axyridis on the environment, such as its capacity to invade other countries and out-compete native ladybirds for food and habitats. After examining 1,193 published records, I found 90 (7.5%) records indicating positive effects of this ladybird on agriculture. Despite the relatively low percentage of records documenting positive effects, this ladybird has been one of the most effective predators of economically important pests (e.g., aphids) around the world in greenhouses/glasshouses, gardens, soybean fields, apple and pecan orchards, and forest stands. Scientists should dedicate more resources (time and money) to utilizing this species to control aphids in select situations while devising techniques to manage its negative effects, in others.
Technical Abstract: In the midst of considerable negativity surrounding the ladybird Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), this paper sheds some light on the positive effects that this predator has had on agriculture. Using resources available at the USDA, National Agricultural Library (DigiTop literature database, Navigator platform), I searched the abstracts of published literature on H. axyridis using the search term “Harmonia axyridis” or “Leis axyridis.” After deleting duplicate records, there were 1,193 total records on this ladybird, in the database dating from 1961-2015. Of this total, 90 records (7.5%) highlighted positive effects of H. axyridis on agriculture in terms of its spectacular voracity, predation capacity, and effectiveness in suppressing plant pests, primarily aphids and scales, in forests, orchards, crop fields, gardens, greenhouses, and in laboratory bioassays. More concerted research is necessary to develop methodologies to exploit the positive behaviors of H. axyridis, while managing its negative ones.