Releases of a natural flightless strain of the ladybird beetle Adalia bipunctata reduce aphid-born honeydew beneath urban lime trees

Lommen, S.T.E.; Holness, T.C.; Kuik, A.J. van; Jong, P.W. de; Brakefield, P.M.


Aphids can cause major environmental problems in urban areas. One important problem is the annual outbreaks of lime aphid, Eucallipterus tiliae (L.) (Hemiptera: Aphididae), which spoil the surroundings of lime trees by depositing honeydew. To date no environmentally friendly method has been demonstrated to yield effective control of lime aphids. Attempts are made in some cities to control lime aphids by releasing larvae of the native two-spot ladybird beetle, Adalia bipunctata (L.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). However, it is known that adult ladybird beetles disperse soon after release, and there is little indication they provide control of the aphids. Here, we demonstrate experimentally that releases of a flightless strain of A. bipunctata, obtained from natural variation in wing length, can reduce the impact of honeydew from lime aphid outbreaks on two species of lime in an urban environment. Both larvae and adult beetles were released, and we discuss the contribution of the flightless adults to the decline in honeydew.