Friday, 30 March 2012

Ladybird, Ladybird

Thanks to Ivor for this contribution to the NLFG's blog.

I have been confused as to which ladybird is a good ladybird. It turns out that there are so many varieties that it may be a little difficult to work out. The following is an excerpt from a Gardening Australia factsheet by Jerry Coleby-Williams.  The full factsheet can be found here.
There are over 100 species of ladybirds in Australia and the vast majority are beneficial, but it pays to know the difference between the good and the bad - beware the vegetarians! 
There are four common garden species of ladybird in Australia. The common spotted ladybird is bright orange with black dots on its back. They're voracious predators of aphids, scale insects and mites. Adults will consume 2,500 aphids during their life. 
The fungus eating ladybird has very bold black and yellow colouration. Both adults and larvae feed on mildew fungus, which is a really common problem in gardens. 
The villain is the 28 spotted or leaf eating ladybird. They're easy to identify. Adults are up to 1cm long, a light orange colour and they have 28 spots. Both adults and larvae feed on a range of plants - cabbagepotato and bean family are preferred foods. The larvae are easy to recognise because they are yellowish creamy colour, with a frizzy outline and they feed on the undersides of the leaves. The best way to control leaf eating ladybirds is to handpick them from plants.

A garden variety superhero - The Common Spotted Ladybird
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The delightfully named Fungus-eating Ladybird
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Villainous, leaf-munching 28 Spot Ladybird
Image from