Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Introduction of Asian ladybugs into Europe serious mistake, experts say

Date:
July 30, 2012
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
In retrospect, introducing the Asian ladybird (ladybug) into Europe was a serious mistake. The insect was introduced some twenty years ago in a conscious attempt to combat aphids. But new research into the invasion of this foreign insect has shown that the disadvantages far outweigh this single advantage. The Asian species is displacing the native European ladybird and has become a pest that can contaminate homes and spoil the taste of wine.

In retrospect, introducing the Asian ladybird into Europe was a serious mistake.
Credit: photos_com / Fotolia

In retrospect, introducing the Asian ladybird into Europe was a serious mistake. The insect was introduced some twenty years ago in a conscious attempt to combat aphids. But research carried out at Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) into the invasion of this foreign insect has shown that the disadvantages far outweigh this single advantage. The Asian species is displacing the native European ladybird and has become a pest that can contaminate homes and spoil the taste of wine.

Related Articles


The researchers concerned have reported their findings in the latest edition of the scientific journal PLoS One.

The Asian ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, which originated in China and Japan, is larger than its European counterpart and has an almost invisible dent towards the rear of its wing cover; the colour and dots are much the same. The foreign insect was introduced into France in the early 90s, and was first used in the Netherlands in around 1996. The Asian ladybird was a formidable weapon in the fight against aphids in greenhouses and on avenue trees, from which lice excrete sticky honeydew onto cars. However, time has shown that these insects, which have very few natural enemies in Europe, are also devouring the native ladybirds. Furthermore, colonies of the Asian variety hibernate in houses and other buildings, where their excrement can cause contamination. Last but least, it has been discovered that when the supply of aphids runs out, this insect has an appetite for grapes and spoils the taste of the wine.

Escape

In order to understand how the Asian species has been able to establish itself in Europe so swiftly and decimate the native ladybird population, PhD student Lidwien Raak from Wageningen University and researcher Marieke de Lange from Alterra, part of Wageningen UR, conducted research into the biology of this invasion. They carried out experiments on both native and Asian ladybird species. Previous laboratory tests had shown that the Asian ladybird would always win a physical fight between the two species. But the researchers from Wageningen wanted to know whether this was also true in the wild. They were keen to discover how often they encounter each other, and whether the native ladybirds could escape. The two devised a clever experiment whereby native and foreign ladybirds were placed on the leaves of lime saplings. Their behaviour was monitored for many hours. The long-term observations generated clear data that is at odds with the results of laboratory experiments. They found that native ladybirds often manage to escape their Asian counterparts by running away or dropping to the ground when under attack. However, if their attempts fail, the highly aggressive Asian ladybirds will devour the two European species and the native Dutch species. This goes a long way to explaining the success of this foreign insect.

Banned

On discovering that introducing Asian ladybirds had been a mistake, use of these insects in Europe was banned. Unfortunately, populations had already become well-established in many European countries. The best way to tackle the nuisance caused by non-native animals and plants is to introduce natural enemies. But this too can be a risky business, which is why the Netherlands has asked Wageningen University and the Plant Protection Service to draw up an environmental risk analysis for the natural enemies of non-native species.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Lidwien Raak-van den Berg, Hendrika J. De Lange, Joop C. Van Lenteren. Intraguild Predation Behaviour of Ladybirds in Semi-Field Experiments Explains Invasion Success of Harmonia axyridis. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (7): e40681 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040681

Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Introduction of Asian ladybugs into Europe serious mistake, experts say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120730094916.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2012, July 30). Introduction of Asian ladybugs into Europe serious mistake, experts say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120730094916.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "Introduction of Asian ladybugs into Europe serious mistake, experts say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120730094916.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins