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Species Page

harlequin ladybird

Harmonia axyridis
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). Find out more information on how to access the CPC.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Malus (ornamental species apple)
Malus domestica (apple)
Pyrus (pears)
Pyrus communis (European pear)
Vitis (grape)
Vitis vinifera (grapevine)

List of symptoms / signs

Fruit - discoloration
Fruit - external feeding
Fruit - lesions: black or brown
Fruit - ooze

Prevention and control

Current and potential management strategies against H. axyridis have been reviewed by Kenis et al. (2008).

Cultural Control

Ensuring that fruit and cut flower imports are free from H. axyridis will reduce movement. In addition, several recommendations on cultivation practices in vineyards have been suggested to lower the impact of the ladybird in regions where H. axyridis causes recurrent problems to fruits (Kenis et al., 2008). Key components of an integrated pest management strategy against H. axyridis in vineyards include proper surveys for beetle densities before harvest and the determination of a threshold density, to assist in management decisions. Galvan et al. (2007) have described various sampling plans and assessed their usefulness. Kovach (2004) and Pickering et al. (2007) evaluated the threshold density for wine contamination to be about 0.9 and 1.3-1.5 beetle per kg of grapes (Vitis vinifera), respectively, but the latter authors recommend a more conservative limit of 0.2 to 0.4 beetles per kg of grapes above which interventions in the field or in the winery should be considered. Including berry injuries in the sampling procedures may also be useful because ladybirds are primarily found on damaged fruits (Galvan et al., 2007). Such damage is caused by a variety of mechanisms including by splitting, feeding by birds or other insects, disease (rot) etc. (Galvan et al., 2007). Growers could reduce berry injury by using irrigation to avoid long periods of drought and by avoiding injuring to berries when pruning or spraying. Selecting varieties with higher resistance or tolerance to splitting may also be envisaged, as a potential long-term measure, when vineyards are replanted through the normal process of renewing stock.

Harvesting methods may have an impact on the density of beetles in harvested grapes. The beetles may be more likely to leave the grapes during day harvesting rather than during night harvesting. Hand-harvesting may be more favourable than mechanical harvesting because aggregations of beetles in grape clusters can be monitored during harvesting and infested grapes can be discarded. The beetles can be removed by shaking clusters, by hand or by using shaking tables, and by floating clusters in water or vacuum clusters (Kenis et al., 2008).

Mechanical Control

The invasion of H. axyridis into households can be limited by preventing the beetles from entering the building. Koch and Hutchison (2003) recommend sealing holes or covering them with fine mesh to limit the movement of H. axyridis into buildings. In addition, H. axyridis adults and late-instar larvae are large and relatively easily identified, therefore they can be removed from unwanted locations manually, for example, using a vacuum cleaner with a mesh covering (such as a stocking) placed over the distal end of the hose to prevent the ladybirds from moving into the vacuum drum. Where large aggregations occur in buildings, care should be taken to avoid disturbance resulting in excessive reflex bleeding, which can cause damage (staining) to soft furnishings. In addition, light traps can be used to attract H. axyridis although the efficiency of these is not yet quantified. New trapping methods for use in buildings and open fields could be developed, based on aggregative semiochemicals, but our current understanding of pheromonal and kairomonal communication by ladybirds and, specifically, H. axyridis, is still limited.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources: