Today at the farm, Corey, Erik and I were standing on the ramp that leads to the Sustainability building and a lady bug landed on the railing… or so we thought. To my surprise, Erik helped us identify it as an Asian Lady Beetle. The coloring of an Asian lady beetle can range from light tan to orange to red- making it potentially difficult to distinguish from an American ladybug. While it is similar to a lady bug there are some notable differences between the two beetles. For example, I learned that the Asian lady beetle is generally larger than a normal lady bug. Also, it tends to have more spots than a lady bug- averaging about 19 per beetle. Lastly, the most identifiable feature of the Asian Lady Beetle is the black “M”-shaped marking behind its head. While ladybugs do have the ability to bite, a person will more likely be bit by an Asian Lady Beetle than a lady bug- they seem to be a bit more aggressive.
After doing some research, I found out that the Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, is so named because it is found commonly in Asia. It is believed that they were introduced to the United States when they were released by the USDA for biological control of aphids.
Lady beetles can be beneficial because they feed on aphids and other insects that can damage plants. Although they are beneficial, they can be annoying to many home owners because they will crawl into cracks and crevices of homes and buildings during the winter and will seem to “swarm”.
Howdy! My name is Marissa Albers and I am a Nutritional Sciences major pursuing a minor in Horticulture. My passion lies with food and where it comes from! I would eventually love to work with food security by helping malnourished populations find sustainable solutions to their hunger and nutrient deficiencies. I am excited to learn about how to grow healthy, local produce and to help bridge the gap between the community of Bryan/College Station and their food source!