Ladybirds

This topic contains 3 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Anna 5 years ago.

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  • #15148

    Lyril
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    As my young swand plants gres they became encrusted woith aphis, as usual. So I decided to catch ladybirds which seem to like the seedheads of Phaleris grass, and put them on the swan plants as biocontrol. It worked beautifully with lots of larvae eating the aphis, then pupating. They cleared much of the infestation quickly.

    Unfortunately the ever-present Harlequin bugs (Dindymus versicolor)found them. I don’t know what these wretched things don’t eat! They love Monarch pupae too, but every ladybird pupa seemed to attract a crowd of harlequins, queuing up for a feast. I have never found a bait or a poison that will work on them. The most persistent pests I know. Do you have these Aussie pests in NZ?

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  • #29481

    Anna
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    Lyril, couldn’t you bring the pupae inside and look after them till they emerge as butterflies?
    Its easy enough to do if you carefully release them from where they have attached themselves, then all you need it a container lined with kitchen towel right up to the top of the container.
    Cover the container with a muslin or similar type cloth, for a lid. After laying the pupae down in the bottom they are quite safe there, and it doesn’t affect them at all.
    The butterflies emerge, and haul themselves up gripping on the kitchen towell, then go to the muslin on the top, and hang, and pump out their wings. Once finished, and their wings are hardened, you can let them go outside:)

    #29477

    Lyril
    Participant

    yes, we have those too. They tend to attack the large caterpillars, taking up to 3 days to drain them. At least they are solitary unliike harlequins, which are usually in groups, often very large. Unlike most insects harlequins show parental care and you’ll find a few adults with sometimes a hundred or so young. The smallest young look a bit like ladybirds. The adults are a very distinctive orange and black sporting a real harlequin design. Quite attractive bugs, but real menaces to almost everything that grows.

    I’ve only seen them attack pupae though. Once a wanderer caterpillar pupates it may take a couple of days for the harlequins to find it, then it’s lost. Last summer some Lesser wanderers pupated on a wall where they were very difficult to move. I spread Vaseline or Lavender balm in a circle around the pupaehoping to deter the HBs.
    It didn’t work. A spray of detergent/vinegar/water works, as it does on aphis too and probably many other pests. But I don’t want to harm the remaining ladybirds.

    This year I’m trying to invent a trap. It’s very easy to attract them to food (oatmeal and dog food) but I ‘d like to make something they couldn’t get out of. They are excellent climbers.

    #29470

    Anna
    Participant

    Lyril, I have just posted a photo of a shield bug attacking a fully grown caterpillar. They are a lot like your Harlequin Bugs.
    https://www.monarch.org.nz/2012/02/11/shield-bug-attack/

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