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New BioControl Research Project in Corvallis, Oregon

Jul '97-Sept.98
Amy J. Dreves, INSECTA

Harmonia axyridis
Our Friend, the Asiatic Ladybug


Living in HarmonyDID YOU KNOW?
One of the best defensive plays in pest management mimics the "checks and balances" system that keeps natural populations on an even keel. Biological control is the deliberate use of natural enemies such as predators, parasites, and diseases to regulate pest populations. By introducing beneficial organisms into a nursery, greenhouse, or other setting they can become permanent "residents" and pests are less likely to increase to damaging proportions. The lasting nature of biological control makes it relatively inexpensive as well as environmentally safe.

A single ladybug larva will eat between 200 and 300 aphids before becoming an adult (~40-50 / day). As adults, females can eat up to 500 aphids before laying eggs.

Our hope is that Harmonia axyridis will add significantly to the natural control of aphid and adelgid pests in raising Christmas trees and other conifers, greenhouses and nurseries, backyard gardens, ornamental landscapes, and in various crops and settings in the Northwest. Because this lady beetle is active so early in the year it is possible that it will impact early season development of aphid and adelgid pests to the extent that in some years complete control will be achieved.

Biologically Harmonia axyridis is unusual. Most native Western ladybugs spend winter months in the foothills of the Cascade, Coast Range or Sierra Nevada mountains. In the spring they leave their winter homes to return to the valley to lay the eggs that begin the next generation. Many generations may be produced each spring and summer, but the final adults always return to the foothills. However, Harmonia is different. Our new ladybug prefers to remain in the valley all winter, often congregating in large numbers in attics, barns, sheds, anywhere that's dry and relatively dark. On warm, late-winter days the beetle may become active and fly to windows.

We believe that Harmonia has established itself in the valley and has been seen in areas west of the mountains in the Northwest, perhaps venturing as far south as Medford. It has not yet been reported east of the Cascades. It was originally released in the West in Washington State.

In the process of reviewing literature. Please check back later.

Harmonia LifecycleThe Ladybug Lifecycle includes four stages: Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. We all know the brightly colored beetles with black spots, but fewer of us know the larvae or baby ladybugs. Eggs are bright yellow, oblong in shape, and laid in clusters of 10-20. Development time depends on temperature, if it is colder then it takes the eggs longer to develop. At room temperature, or about 70°F, eggs will hatch in 4-5 days. The newly hatched larvae are very tiny and black. They remain curled up around the empty eggshell for several hours, then they begin to move around looking for food. In 7-10 days they will have shed their skins several times and grown to be about 1/2 inch long, at which time they are ready to pupate. The larvae are a distinctive black, white and orange. They have carrot-shaped bodies, rather warty, somewhat hairy. They attach by their tail to the surface (plant in nature), much like a caterpillar. After attaching they shed their last larval skin and become pupae. A week or so later they will emerge as adult ladybugs. Adults and larvae are always hungry. They eat other insects (e.g. scales, mites) and their favorite food is aphids.

This lady beetle adult (or ladybug) comes in many different variations of pattern and color. Most commonly, the beetle is orange with black spots (up to as many as nineteen black spots!) or it may be black with four red spots at the corners. Scientists believe that this "morphological plasticity" is one reason this lady beetle has been so successful.

Several questions need to be addressed and tests performed to understand the usefulness, practicality, and potential of rearing Harmonia:

Behavior Studies

Regulation Research

Cage Designs for rearing the different life stages (e.g. egg, larvae, pupae, adult)

Food (artificial diet and supplemental nutrition)

Egg Shelf-life & Adult Storage

Pilot Projects for Field Testing

Development of Greenhouse & New Insect Research Facility
Originally the ladybird beetles and 'show' insects were reared in Bellfountain, Oregon at Bugs, Inc. We then moved to Oregon State University Weniger Greenhouse and OSU East Greenhouse. Currently, we are developing a new facility, the "Insecta Insectary", located in south Corvallis. The 12'x12' room is being designed with shelving, lights, ventilation, and a heating and cooling system.

Literature Review
There are many articles that discuss Harmonia. The following are a few key questions that need to be addressed from the articles that were located.

Insecta LogoCopyright 1998 Amy Dreves, Insecta (drevesa@ava.bcc.orst.edu)
All rights reserved.

Created: July 28, 1998
Last Modified: August 25, 1998

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