Little helpers

Over the winter months and on into spring I have noticed a great many steel-blue ladybirds (Halmus chalybeus) in my garden, particularly on my two new BIG cymbidium orchids. Turns out they’re just what I want to see there.

These ladybirds are native to eastern Australia and were introduced to New Zealand in 1899 and 1905 as a biological control agent. Read more about the insect and its life cycle here. Ruud Kleinpaste says they will be found where their prey – scale insects – are to be found.

Pulling the stem sheaths off the orchid revealed lots of steel-blue ladybirds. Photo: Sandra Simpson

I’ve found numerous ladybirds inside the stem sheaths, where the flower stems join the main stem, on the backs and fronts of the flowers … long may they continue their good work.


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