Harmonia vs. Hippodamia: Seems like every time I purchase some arthropods, I'm sorely disappointed. The convergent beetles that came in were really sluggish, and a lot of them were DoA and many of the others followed over the first few days I had them. There were a few lively ones, even saw quite a bit of breeding for a few days, but very few of them seemed interested in the aphids. We found a few young around, but we were finding larger Harmonia larvae, which have eliminated all the others now, and put the aphids into remission.
I've started putting little drops of honey in key places now, an offering to keep the remaining Harmonia larvae from being eaten before they go thru the last molt. We've probably got a solid two dozen Harmonia now, maybe even 3 or 4, but I won't have a final count until they are all beetles. There are still a few of the original Hippodamia beetles around too, but a lot of them have disappeared, likely into the eaves.. To finish hibernating. I've also found many dead ones. It'll be interesting to see how many show up in the yard next year, they sure aren't doing much here in the winter.
It's hard to even compare the Hippodamia to the Harmonia, much as I love the natives.. Hippodamia convergens are pretty fragile, for a beetle, and they don't have nearly the appetite a Harmonia carries. I'd be willing to gamble that it would take at least 3 Hippodamia to match the control one Harmonia does in one day. On top of that, they are very clingy and tedious to move around and work with.. Perhaps just less 'handled', as I'm on my 6th or better generation of Harmonia (though I don't recall them ever being really difficult to work with) I can have a selective memory at times, and I feel like this can't be completely true, as I say it. I have Harmonia that greet me, and rush to me when I beckon them, and go onto wherever I offer them when taxied.. It's hard to top that, especially when you compare it with a beetle that tries to run up under your sleeves and grabs your other finger when you try to brush it off of your hand onto the target area, after initially having to corner and chase it onto your hand in the first place. Maybe they didn't get a fair shot, but who does?
Currently I don't find any aphid fliers on the window.. Just Orius and Aphidius, along with a few other random insects and the beetles. Probably about time to drop some seeds.