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How to Manage Pests

Identification: Natural Enemies Gallery

Multicolored Asian lady beetle

Scientific name: Harmonia axyridis

Life stages of harmonia axyridis

Click on image to enlarge

Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Coccinellidae

Common hosts: Many species of homopterous insects, especially aphids, but also psyllids and scales

Commercially available: No

Lady beetles are easily recognized by their shiny, convex, half-dome shape and short, clubbed antennae. Most lady beetles, including this species, are predaceous as both larvae and adults. Young lady beetle larvae usually pierce and suck the contents from their prey. Older larvae and adults chew and consume their entire prey. Larvae are active, elongate, have long legs, and resemble tiny alligators. Many lady beetles look alike and accurate identification requires a specialist.

DESCRIPTION      Life Cycle

Adult multicolored Asian lady beetles are roughly 1/3 inch (8.5 mm) long. There are more than 100 forms with different spot patterns and colors. They are dome-shaped, yellowish-orange to red, with variable black spots or no spots on the wing covers. Deep orange is the most common color. Spots on the thorax form a W-shaped mark. Larvae resemble tiny alligators. The overall color of the fourth instar is mostly black to dark blue-gray, with a bright yellow-orange patch on the sides of abdominal segments 1 to 5.

Harmonia axyridis undergoes complete metamorphosis. It is believed that adult beetles overwinter in protected areas and mate in the spring. In some colder parts of the U.S. Harmonia overwinters in aggregations in attics and houses, becoming a nuisance pest, but this is not common in California.

During a lifetime a female will lay several dozen to several hundred eggs. Eggs often hatch in 3 to 5 days. The larval stage lasts from 12 to 14 days and the pupal stage, 5 to 6 days. There are several generations per year depending on temperature.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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