Ladybugs are a type of beetle that is often brightly colored. Ladybugs are known for eating aphids and other small pests that damage crops. They are considered beneficial insects and are often used in agricultural settings to control pest populations.
In many parts of the world, ladybugs are considered symbols of good luck and are believed to bring good fortune to those who have them in their homes. In England, finding a ladybug implies there will be a bumper harvest. In Sweden, if a ladybug lands on a young girl’s hand, she will be married soon.
Whether you believe in superstition or not, there’s no denying that these little creatures are charming and can add a bit of fun to your home. So if you are interested in learning more about these little creatures, keep reading!
What Are Ladybugs?
In Europe, they’re often called “ladybird beetles” or “lady beetles,” while in Asia, they are known as “golden nuggets.”
Ladybugs are a type of beetle, and like all beetles, they have hard wing covers. Underneath these covers are two sets of wings – the front set is used for flying, while the back set is used for walking. When a ladybug flies, it looks like its wings are opened and closed like a fan.
These lady beetles are small, round, winged insects that come in various colors. Most are black with red spots, while others are orange with black spots. Some ladybugs are yellow, pink, or white.
Several species have a solid black color. Ladybugs can have black legs, a head, and antennae. The ladybug, much like other insects, has an exterior skeleton comprised of the same type of protein that makes up our hair and fingernails. Its body comprises three sections – the head, thorax, and abdomen. However, each part serves an integral role.
There are many different ladybugs, but they all have one thing in common: they love to eat aphids! Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on plant sap. Ladybugs will devour them by the hundreds, which makes them great allies in the garden.
- Did you know that the ladybug is the official state insect of five different states? Those states are Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Delaware, and Tennessee.
- Some ladybugs don’t have spots. The Paramysia Oblonguttata, for instance, is striped. Some other species lack any spots.
- Throughout its larval phase, a single ladybug larva was observed eating 25 aphids per day for a total consumption of 475 aphids.
- Ladybugs have been sent into space. Four ladybugs and a jar of aphids were placed aboard a shuttle to be studied in zero gravity as part of a test. The ladybugs were able to catch their prey without the aid of gravity.
- A female ladybug prefers to lay her eggs on the underside of leaves, but not all of them may hatch. In fact, during periods where food is in short supply, a ladybug may return to the eggs and consume the eggs and larvae.
Ladybugs are found worldwide. There are about 5,000 species of ladybugs, with 475 species found in Canada and U.S. Ladybugs live in fields, gardens, and forests. The perfect temperature for a ladybug is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most species of ladybugs hibernate in the winter and emerge in the spring. During the spring and summer months, the ladybug population grows speedily. When it gets cold outside, ladybugs look for a warm place to spend the winter.
Sometimes ladybugs end up in people’s homes! If you find a ladybug in your house, you can gently scoop it up and release it back outside.
Ladybugs eat just about any soft-bodied insect or mite, including many species of destructive pests. Ladybugs eat insects such as aphids, thrips, mealybugs, whiteflies, and other small insects.
A single ladybug can consume as many as 20-25 aphids per day which are small insects that damage plants. Aphid is also called plant lice. When not feeding on pests, ladybugs eat pollen and nectar from various flowers. When ladybugs are not eating, they hang out on leaves or flowers.
Ladybugs Family Life/Reproduction
When a ladybug is ready to mate, it will release pheromones – special chemicals that attract potential mates. After mating, the female will lay her eggs on a leaf or stem near aphids. When the eggs hatch, the larvae immediately start feeding on the aphid.
Once they have filled, the larvae spin a cocoon around themselves and transform into adults. The whole process – from egg to adult – takes about four weeks.
An adult ladybug can live for up to two years while it will mate and lay eggs several times. A single female can lay up to 1,000 eggs in her lifetime!
Ladybugs as Predators
While most ladybugs are beneficial predators, there are a few species that can cause damage to crops. The most common of these is the Mexican bean beetle, which feeds on soybean plants. If you suspect that you have crop-damaging ladybugs in your garden, contact your local Cooperative Extension office for identification and control recommendations.
There are many natural enemies of ladybugs, including humans. Ladybugs are eaten by various animals, including birds, spiders, lizards, and frogs. They also release a smell when they are threatened, which confuses predators.
Plant Feeding Ladybugs
Most ladybugs enjoy eating aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and other small insects. They will also feed on nectar and pollen from flowers. However, a few species of ladybugs damage crops by feeding on the plants themselves.
The most common of these is the Mexican bean beetle, which feeds on soybean plants. The other type is the squash beetle which likes to attack pumpkin, squash, and cantaloupe.
Ladybugs Ecosystem Connections
Ladybugs are an important part of the ecosystem. They help to control the populations of other insects, including pests. Ladybugs also pollinate flowers and help to spread pollen. Without ladybugs, the ecosystem would be out of balance.
How Do I Prevent a Ladybug Infestation in My House?
There are a few things you can do to help prevent ladybugs from infesting your home:
- Keep Your House Clean and Free of Food Debris!
Ladybugs are attracted to food sources, so keeping your kitchen and dining areas clean can help deter them.
- Seal up Any Cracks or Openings in Your Home’s Exterior!
Ladybugs can enter through very small openings, so it’s important to ensure your home is well-sealed.
- Remove Any Potential Nesting Sites from Your Property!
Ladybugs will often nest in piles of leaves or other dark, secluded areas. If you remove these nesting sites, ladybugs will be less likely to infest your home.
If you are already dealing with a ladybug infestation, there are a few things you can do to get rid of them:
- Vacuum Them Up! This is often the easiest and most effective way to remove ladybugs from your home. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag immediately after use to prevent these bugs from escaping.
- Trap Them with Sticky Traps!
Sticky traps can be purchased at most hardware stores and placed around your home to trap ladybugs.
- Use a Pesticide!
If you have a serious infestation, you may need to use a pesticide to get rid of the lady beetle. Follow the directions carefully and only use pesticides as a last resort.
Ladybugs are beneficial insects that help to control insect pests and pollinate flowers. They can be a nuisance if they infest your houses, but there are a few things you can do to prevent or get rid of them.
Ladybugs are an important part of the ecosystem and play a vital role in keeping it balanced. They may be found in nursery rhymes and folklore all around the world.