Ladybird is the common name given to a family of small colourful beetles frequently seen during the Summer months. Ireland is home to 20 species of ladybird which range in colour from red, orange to black. Pictured here is a seven-spotted ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata), the most abundant species in Ireland, which was seen by an INIS Ecologist while carrying out a habitat survey in north Co. Cork.
Ladybirds are mostly beneficial insects in gardens and agricultural crops because they prey on pests such as aphids and scale insects; an adult female ladybird will eat up to 300 aphids before it lays eggs. However, a recent and unwelcome addition to Ireland’s ladybird fauna is the invasive harlequin ladybird which threatens to replace native ladybird species through predation and competition for resources. It is also considered a nuisance in orchards and other fruit crops.