Ladybirds often conjure up images of enjoying warm summer days, but recently the media has been full of stories of a more sinister variety of the insect: harlequin ladybirds.
Unlike our native ladybirds, the harlequin species, dubbed ‘killer ladybirds’ come from Asia and North America and have black wings. Currently being carried over to the UK on the mild autumn winds, they pose a threat to our native ladybirds because they carry an STD called Laboulbeniales fungal disease.
Whilst this fungal disease poses no threat to humans, it could affect the lifespan or number of eggs a female ladybird can produce which is putting our already threatened variety of ladybird under increasing threat.
Additionally, the harlequin ladybird has the potential to affect businesses and their customers across the UK.
Businesses reliant on the outdoors, such as golf clubs, could be most affected by swarms of the insects whilst owners of British vineyards may also encounter a knock on effect on the future production of their wine because the insects feed on grapes.
Whilst not a direct threat to humans, harlequin ladybirds do leave a nasty chemical smell and unsightly stains when they crawl over furniture, something which could affect businesses in the hospitality industry.
With winter drawing in, these ladybirds are seeking sheltered spots to hibernate away from the harsh conditions so you may come across swarms of them in centrally heated buildings or sheltered outbuildings.
If you are worried that your business could be affected by a heavy infestation of the insects, pest controllers can administer a professional treatment to solve the problem as well as advising you on how to prevent the ladybirds entering your building and securing your entry points from future problems.