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Report Harlequin ladybird invaders

30/09/2010 08:00:01

Survey to monitor impact of the harlequin

October 2010: Efforts to quantify the invasive harlequin ladybird are underway. Known as the most invasive ladybird on Earth, scientists are working hard to monitor its spread and impact - and as they gather information, you can help.

IMPOSTER: The harlequin ladybird.
Picture: Mike Majerus

This spring, Rocha UK, the environmental and nature conservation charity, teamed up with Buglife to collect sightings of the harlequin ladybird to gain a clearer picture of where they appear and how numerous they are. Buglife will use this information as part of its project to reduce the threat to native ladybirds and other species.

A Rocha Friends across the country assisted with the survey throughout the summer as the weather warmed and the ladybirds were spotted in back gardens and parks. In August a new generation of adults emerged from the pupae. During the past month these new adults will be out feeding, and as October starts, will begin to ‘overwinter' in their dormant state.

However, A Rocha is still encouraging the public to get involved in the survey. At the end of the year, records will be submitted to Buglife, who will collate the data in order to highlight the threat from harlequins to native ladybirds.

If you see any ladybirds, please make a note of:

  • The species if you know it - and if you haven't seen any harlequins do send information on any ladybird species you find. We have already had lots of sightings of seven-spot and two-spot ladybirds. Refer to the identification guide at: 
  • The number of ladybirds you saw.
  • The location where you saw the ladybird, include your postcode if it was in your back garden or home.
  • And please take a photo on your camera or phone, if you can, so that we can confirm your identification.
  • Send records to 


Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment


my husband found a harlequin ladybird in our garden today, brighouse, west yorkshire. i have never seen one at this time of year,26th nov 2011.

Posted by: susan mclaughlin | 27 Nov 2011 17:06:24

H axyridisspectabilis

Spotted H axyridisspectabilis Bridgnorth Shropshire

Posted by: Powell Ettinger | 09 Nov 2011 09:58:45

laybird count

WELL done amanda,it sound to me like a witch hunt for harlequins.

Ive yet to see any change in numbers of lady birds here in south devon due to the other species mentioned.

With so many new insects comming into uk,might not the other species mentioned actually help against forign pest.

theres No proof that this other species is going to wipe out the uk population,which is what the media want us to believe!

Posted by: david | 06 Jun 2011 21:31:08

Thanks for your postings, its great to get some more sightings.
And please do send in records of all ladybird species you see, we are interested in gathering data on all. If you have seen any, please post where and how many and what species if you can.

Best wishes

Posted by: Sarah Hodgetts | 15 Oct 2010 09:49:18

This years invasion begins

Just came home at luchtime today to find Harlequin LBs in all the south facing rooms. They have been massing in the corner of the window frames. I hoover up about 1000 of them and shut the windows. I am in Camberley post code GU15 3XB date 08/10/2010

We had them last year and when I had them hoovered up I sparayed the findow frames and openings with cheap and nasty deoderant ... semed to work!!! eventually.

Posted by: doug | 08 Oct 2010 14:49:02

Harlequin Ladybird mass invasion

Today is a beautifully sunny day in Bath, Somerset where we live, and this afternoon we have had simply hundreds, probably 1000's of harlequins crawling up the side of our house (on the south facing side) and all are trying to come inside - with great success - via the sash windows. The same thing happened on a few sunny days in October 2009. We really dislike killing any creatures, however as these are so invasive we have to say we spray the rooms and window surrounds with fly killer and once the sun has moved towards the west and the ladybirds are non longer on the move, we just vacuum them up, disposing of them in the outside rubbish bins. Any other suggestions as to how we can prevent other batches of them returning in future would be very welcome. Thank you.

Posted by: S & E Stafford | 04 Oct 2010 17:20:51

Just to add, the survey should be called Ladybird suvey as most people will not report any other species apart from the Harlequins.

Posted by: Amanda | 01 Oct 2010 20:30:01


Would it not be a good idea for people to report all ladybirds seen, native or otherwise to get a more acurate idea of what is really going on.
By just reporting Harlequins this might be giving people the impression that Harlequins are taking over when there might not be a problem.
For instance this year in both Wales and Kent the only Ladybirds I have seen have been native.
Yet last year I saw both Harlequins and native species sometimes together on the same plant.
Whilst keeping an eye on invasive species is important shouldn't this be done more scientifically.

Posted by: Amanda | 01 Oct 2010 20:27:59

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