Lunate Ladybeetle

Cheilomenes lunata

Lunate Ladybeetle, Lunate Ladybug

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A close up photograph of a red morph Lunate Ladybeetle Cheilomenes lunata on a finger
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A Lunate Ladybeetle is a shiny, brightly coloured insect, originating from South Africa. It's an average-sized ladybird, roughly measuring 7mm when fully grown. These insects are an essential garden predator that is a specialised feeder of aphids; so they're an insect that you should want to befriend! Ladybeetles will only be attracted to your green spaces if there is an abundance of food (aphids, mealy bugs, scale). This means, if you want an infestation taken care of naturally, it is best to hold off from using pesticides if you can (even delaying use by a month can help). This allows predator populations to grow large enough to control the pest populations. For obvious reasons, this can take some time!
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Traits

A top predatory insect for your garden that will help keep aphid populations low.

Appearance

A Lunate Ladybeetle can be variable. Some possess a total of 10 symmetrically placed patches per elytron (a hard covering that protects the wings). The patches are large and can between yellow and orange, with the base colour black. The second variant displays a yellow/ orange or creamy base colour, with small black dots. Larvae: are highly segmented, with numerous spikes (tubercles). They tend to be mostly black, with pale pink-yellow-cream markings covering the length of the body. Like the ladybeetle, they have six legs too. The eggs are so small; they're often missed by gardeners. They tend to be bright yellow, oval, and attached firmly to the bottom of the leaves.

Symptoms

Both larval and adult stages of this insect are predatory, feeding solely on soft-bodied insects.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Coleoptera

Family

Coccinellidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Widespread across South Africa and spreading Northwards.

Biological treatment

These insects are a cheap and natural form of biocontrol for aphids, whiteflies, scale insects and more. The best way to attract these into your green spaces is to steer clear of pesticides for as long as possible during the warm season. This is because ladybirds are highly attracted to the smell of their food (the pests!). It's only worth them travelling to your garden if there's going to be enough food there. So, if the infestation is too light, they won't bother. By holding off from using pesticides, pest populations may grow to become unsightly. But, with sufficient food supplies, you'll enable the ladybeetles to breed and multiply. Some patience is required. You can also incorporate insect hotels, indigenous flower patches and climbing plants. Pest populations can help to entice them in, nut you can keep them coming back if you provide refuges.

Chemical treatment

We do not recommend treating your garden plants for ladybeetles because they provide so many benefits.

Attracts

These lady beetles have extremely large appetites!
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