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Winter survival of Harmonia axyridis in The Netherlands

Lidwien Raak-van den Berg, C., Stam, Jeltje M., de Jong, Peter W., Hemerik, Lia, van Lenteren, Joop C.
Biological control 2012 v.60 no.1 pp. 68-76
Harmonia axyridis, buildings, mortality, overwintering, spring, Netherlands
Since the establishment of Harmonia axyridis in Europe, populations of native ladybirds have decreased. Overwintering survival is one of the aspects of the biology of H. axyridis that may contribute to its firm establishment in and invasion of a new area. In this study winter survival of five wild H. axyridis populations was assessed under natural and semi-natural conditions, with a focus on the potential influence of location and orientation on winter survival. Overwintering survival of H. axyridis in the Netherlands is high: 70.8–88.2%. When overwintering at one central site, populations sampled at five locations showed statistically significant different mortality rates. Furthermore, winter survival of H. axyridis at the sample sites was higher when beetles were hibernating at the southwestern sides of buildings, where most aggregations of ladybirds were found. Survival was higher at sheltered sites compared to exposed sites. Harmonia axyridis has a comparable or higher overwintering survival than most common native ladybird species. A high overwintering survival results in a large post-hibernation population in spring, leading to a rapid population build-up. Thus, the high winter survival probably contributes to the success of the exotic H. axyridis.