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Author: Jennifer Forman Orth

Invading your brain since 2002.

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Nature Blog Network

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


A report from the recent annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) indicates that Asian ladybugs (Harmonia axyridis) should now be considered a potential allergen in America. The beetles, originally introduced as a biological control for garden aphids, congregate in massive numbers in the fall to seek shelter. They often target homes and other buildings as ideal spots to pass the time until spring. Now tests show that the beetles are causing allergic reactions in humans that are comparable to those caused by cockroaches. More interesting is that there is cross-reactivity between the ladybug and cockroach allergens. That means someone who develops a reaction to ladybugs is at risk of developing a reaction to cockroaches allergens, and vice versa.

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