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Maclean’s: The invasion of the biting lady bug in Manitoba

November 7, 2017 — 

As Maclean’s reports: 

[Manitoba] is home to 66 lady beetles varieties, and this vicious newcomer imported from Eastern and Central Asia to control aphids can range from pale yellow to orange to red. It’s identified by an M-shaped black marking and up to 19 spots, with a pronotum—the section in front of the wings—that’s more white than most native, less bothersome, species. All lady beetles have a jaw and can “take a chunk” when they bite, though this Asian species is more prone to biting than most, says University of Manitoba entomologist Kateryn Rochon, who has fielded multiple media calls from journalists surprised by the infestation reported all over social media, local papers and radio call-in shows.

“We grow up learning lady beetles are friendly. They’re in kids’ books,” Rochon says. “You don’t have an evil lady beetle, unless it was a kids’ book for aphids.”

…Queries about the harmonia axyridis were burning up the university’s Bug Line last month, says University of Manitoba entomology instructor Jordan Bannerman. He took calls from Winnipeg and surrounding areas to the southern end of Lake Winnipeg to west of Portage la Prairie. “It’s quite new for a lot of people. They’ve never experienced the onslaught of these beetles in the fall before,” says Bannerman, who pulled some 100 of the creatures from the walls of his own downstairs bathroom.

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