Tree Following: June 2015

I am following a tree this year – a Field Maple to be precise – along with Lucy at Loose and Leafy, and many others around the world. This month my tree is looking lush and leafy. 🙂

However, on closer examination there are very few seeds that have remained on the tree, most dropping at or just after flowering stage… and a lot of aphids earlier this month have made an ugly mess of many leaves too… Maybe it became susceptible due to stress caused by our very dry April?

FieldMapleJune2

But wait, what’s this? A strange orange and black bug…

FieldMapleJune4

And another one… chomping away!

FieldMapleJune3

I have identified them as the larva and pupa stages of the Asian Ladybird Harmonia axyridis, also known as the Harlequin Ladybird, the most invasive ladybird on earth!

It has the potential to threaten our native ones, eating both their food sources and their larvae. So I will be on the lookout for the adult now, to see if I can differentiate between it and our native ones. Not that I can do anything about it, but I’ll keep you posted anyway. A good website to help with identification of ladybirds, at least in western Europe, is the Ladybird Survey site, which has information on the Harlequin too. Here is a link to some Wikimedia photos of the adult Harlequin Ladybird.

Have you seen this ladybird? Do you see other ladybirds too, or did you in the past?

 Thanks go to Lucy for hosting this meme… I probably would not have learned that we have this ladybird in our garden if I hadn’t been watching my tree so closely!

22 thoughts on “Tree Following: June 2015

  1. We have lots of ladybirds, but so far, thank goodness, no harlequins. I once found a larva of our ladybirds and took it to the garden centre to identify it, he was most amused when I insisted on taking it home again!

    • 🙂 That was very responsible of you Pauline…. not to remove it from its chosen home! I suppose it is a case of the survival of the fittest, as with the grey versus red squirrels, but it would be a shame to see our native ladybirds succumb to a hungry invader.

    • If only they would stop at aphids though Chloris. Apparently it was a ‘clever’ idea of someone to introduce them to North America to deal with aphids, where they now have the upper hand.

    • This will be another challenge for me… I gave up on identifying the numerous different bumble bees we had in spring, so now I’ll have a go at identifying ladybirds…. 😉

  2. I have noticed a lot of trees look better from afar and that on close examination are in fact a home for many little creatures like the aphids and ladybirds, hopefully they won’t cause too much harm. I wonder what color the leaves will turn in the Autumn….

    • I often wonder how many different insects we have in the garden… sadly the mosquitoes are among them at the moment! The autumn leaves are a lovely shade of…. no, I won’t tell you – you will have to wait and see, Nancy! 😉

    • I agree, Anna. From a distance it looks quite lovely and if the mosquitoes stick around all summer I won’t be spending much time in the hammock looking up at those yukky leaves anyway!!!

    • Well, the aphids don’t seem to be a problem for such a large tree and most have gone, but I have seen surprisingly few ladybirds…. The birds have been very busy though!

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