(click images to enlarge)
Two of theses Ladybirds are Harlequins.
Ladybirds are small helmet shaped beetles most commonly red with black spots but do occur black with red spots and yellow with black spots.
Their size ranges from 2mm to 10mm, of the 26 recognizable Ladybirds in the UK 8 can be found around Lympne with 4 forms of Harlequin Ladybird
Ladybirds are a predatory species feeding mainly on Aphids and Blackfly, but will also eat pollen and nectar Fungi/Mildew and small insect larvae. The Ladybird is considered a gardeners friend and are used as a biological control of pest species.
The Harlequin Ladybird, so called because of its many coloured and spot pattern forms, was originally from Asia and introduced as a biological control into various countries. The Harlequin has now spread to North America, much of Europe and several South American countries, as well as Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa. In North America, this insect is now the most widespread ladybird species. Outside of Asia, the Harlequin ladybird is thought to pose a threat to other ladybird species, both by out competing and directly predating them. The Harlequin has a number of advantages over other ladybirds, it is larger, has a broad diet, can tolerate a wide range of habitats and climates, and has a long reproductive period. In some areas, the harlequin ladybird also has a higher winter survival rate than native ladybird species. Declines in native ladybird species in the United Kingdom and United States have been directly attributed to this invasive species.
Please do not kill odd looking Ladybirds thinking they may be Harlequins, some of them resemble our native Ladybirds. Right or wrong they are here now.