Harmonia axyridis, the Asian ladybird beetle, is a recognizable coccinellid beetle with red/orange or black wing elytra sporting 0 to 22 spots. Three color forms are especially common: red or orange with black spots (known as form succinea); black with four red spots (form spectabilis); and black with two red spots (form conspicua), although many other variants are also described. As well as feeding on many aphid and scale species, Harmonia axyridis eats a large variety of beetle and Lepidoptera species, and will also eat flower nectar and pollen. The Asian ladybird beetle is native to eastern Asia, but has been introduced to North America and Europe to control aphids and scale insects. It is now common, well known and spreading in those regions. The wide geographical spread of this insect is cause for concern in some places, as it is a threat to native species and biodiversity, can damage crops (especially grapes) and migrates into houses in the fall, becoming a household pest. Harmonia axyridis beetles often aggregate in large numbers, and use pheromones to communicate and attract more beetles. These aggregation pheromones have been analyzed and synthesized to develop traps for control and monitoring of the ladybird.
(Koch, 2003; Wikipedia 2011)
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