Where most ‘STD ladybirds’ are found in the UK and how they’ve spread in decade

The highest concentration of Harlequin ladybirds is found in the south of UK, research has shown.

A map of the bugs shows how they were found in the south east in 2004, but by 2015 spread across the south and up into parts of the midlands.

Maps show how their population became denser over a decade.

The insects have been reported on this week as it emerged swarms of STD-riddled ladybirds are invading homes across Britain.

The bugs, known as Harlequin Ladybirds , are flying in from Asia and North America on mild Autumn winds and seeking cosy hibernation spots in people’s homes.

The insect, which has black instead of red wings, was introduced to North America in 1988 and arrived in Britain in summer 2004.

The Harlequin Ladybird Survey has been monitoring how the insect has spread.

It says that there are 46 species of ladybird in Britain but the arrival of the Harlequin "has the potential to jeopardise many of these".

The first sightings were in the southeast of England but since then the bug has spread rapidly up to north of England and west into Wales.

Experts say the foreign invaders actually pose a threat to the domestic species because they carry a sexually-transmitted disease called Laboulbeniales fungal disease.

Residents have reported large clusters of the bugs in their living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms this week.

The creepy-crawlies have been seen clustering around boilers, window frames and smoke detectors as they bed down for winter.

Scientists say a fungus the creatures carry, which is passed on through mating, will infect our native species which are already under threat from habitat loss.

While they do not yet know if the fungus is harmful, the UK Ladybird Survey says it is possible the disease affects the lifespan or the number of eggs a female can produce over her lifespan.

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