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'Killer' ladybirds are breeding in Northern Ireland

The invasive Harlequin ladybird was first reported in the south of Ireland in 2010.

Image: Shutterstock/ChWeiss

KILLER LADYBIRDS, known as Harlequin ladybirds, are breeding in Northern Ireland for the first time.

The BBC reports the ladybirds have been found in several Belfast parks and at the Titanic Memorial at the city hall.

Sightings of the species are to be reported to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

Consuming other ladybirds 

According to the Irish Wildlife Trust, who conducted a ladybird survey in 2014, the Harlequin causes problems to the natural environment.

Due to its wide dietary range, it competes with native ladybirds for their main prey of aphids and has been known to consume the eggs and larvae of other ladybird species.

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The “invasive” ladybird arrived in the UK in the summer of 2004 and is now found in all parts of England, isolated parts in Scotland and was first seen in northern Ireland in County Down in 2009.

The species was first reported in County Cork and Wicklow in 2010 and Carlow in 2011.

There are 18 ladybird species recorded in Ireland. The insect, which originates from Asia,  was introduced into North America in 1988.

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