by 👩💻 Stephanie Boyd
Ladybugs, or Ladybirds as they are known in the UK, are a common sight to see throughout the summer and the fall. While completely harmless to humans, the bugs are prolific and can often be seen as something of a pest when it comes to private gardens and more besides. Recent news in the UK press suggests that British homes should be on the lookout for an increasing swarm of the critters, however, particularly as there is one species of the bug which is setting about spreading nasty diseases to the more common variety.
Ladybugs are generally marked by having red wings with black dots – however, Harlequin Ladybugs, or Halloween Ladybugs, can appear black-winged with red spots – and they are seen as something as a menace to the ‘traditional’ species. It’s thought that the harlequins carry a sexually-transmitted disease that pose a genuine threat to other bugs – the disease is known as Laboulbeniales, which is a fungal condition spread through sexual intercourse. Essentially, according to local sources, more and more UK homes are playing host to waves of amorous harlequins – but why is this, particularly when the summer is now just a memory?
It’s thought that the creatures are on the hunt for a winter home ahead of time, and are thus taking advantage of warm, safe conditions and areas such as our own homes – and as the critters are already pretty common in British gardens and wildlife, there’s little wonder why so many people are noticing floods of the minibeasts crawling in and making themselves at home. While the news that these bugs are carrying a particularly grim disease is snatching headlines left right and center, it should be noted that humans aren’t thought to be at risk – but it seems it’s all-out war for ladybugs.
The harlequin species poses a genuine risk to common bugs due to the fungi they possess – which means that they are seen as somewhat invasive, and are classed as non-indigenous. A healthy ladybug can expect to live for around three years – but it’s a dangerous world out there, perhaps made all the more risky by the fact that some of the species is quite willing – and able – to spread a nasty, life-threatening condition. In any case – if you live in the UK and suddenly see waves of these critters entering your home – you’re not at risk!