1 Harmonia axyridis ladybug invasion and allergy
2 Multicolored Asian lady beetle hypersensitivity: a case series and allergist survey
3 Harmonia axyridis ladybug hypersensitivity in clinical allergy practice
Words by Roar, art by Hoot.
Would bug-boxes help?
[…] I promise we will get to fungi, but first, let’s talk about ladybugs. There’s a new ladybug in town, and it’s not as charming and adorable as our old favorites. It’s the Multicolored Asian Ladybug, Harmonia axyridis. They were introduced to North America in the 20th century to eat pesky aphids: one ladybug can eat 200 aphids a day. This is really their most charming characteristic— their other attributes make them undesirable invasive insects (Koch 2003). They appear to be displacing friendlier native species (check out the Lost Ladybug Project). They have also become household pests, since they overwinter in huge aggregations on or in our houses. If you have them in your home this winter you know that if you piss them off, they produce a foul stink known as “ladybug taint.” If you’re a winemaker, ladybug taint can ruin a whole batch of wine if you accidentally squash some ladybugs along with your grapes. Even in low numbers they give wine the taste of rancid peanuts or rotten peas (Mansell 2009). Worse, ladybug allergy (that’s right, ladybug allergy!) is increasingly a problem for humans whose houses are ladybug overwintering sites (Goetz 2009). No laughing matter, and to top it all off, they sometimes bite. They’re just not very nice ladybugs. […]