common names: Singular Lady Beetle, Scale Destroyer
scientific name: Order Coleoptera, family Coccinellidae, Lindorus lopanthea
size: Adult--3/32", larva--5/32"
identification: Much smaller than convergent ladybugs, with velvety black wing covers and a deep reddish-orange head, thorax, and abdomen. The larvae are dark gray and shaped like other lady beetle larvae and have light-colored bands running lengthwise along the abdomen.
biology and life cycle: The life cycle is thirty-five to sixty days, depending on the temperature. The beetles do not hibernate in cold temperatures or low light as other insects do. Adults are active down to 40 degrees F.
habitat: Citrus trees or wherever hard scale can be found in high densities.
feeding habits: Larvae and adults feed on hard scale.
economic importance: Help to control purple scale and red scale in citrus crops as well as other armored scale with relatively thin scale covers.
natural control: Other than humans with poisons, none known.
organic control: None needed.
insight: These insects were first imported to the United States from Australia in 1892 and again from South Africa to Texas in 1959. They are an excellent insect for scale control, although they don't survive the winter very well and need to be reintroduced annually. Lindorus beetles are so voracious that it is difficult to ensure a food supply for sustaining mass production in insectaries. One California insectary, Rincon-Vitova, has now worked out a system for feeding them so we can have a year-round supply to release in greenhouses.