Friday, April 13, 2012

Lady Bugs

The insects that most of us call Lady Bugs are Lady Beetles or Ladybird Beetles.  The Lady Bug is found all over the world.  There are some 450 different species of Lady Beetle in North America.

Ladybird Beetles eat aphids, mites, scales, and other pest style bugs.  A pest bug is one that eats plants, particularly plants that humans grow for food or show.  This is why Lady Bugs are considered "good bugs".  A few thousand Ladybird Beetles can control the aphid population on an acre of land.

Typical insects, Lady Bugs have a head, thorax, abdomen and six legs.  The head is usually black, or black with white spots.  The Lady Bug has a pair of eyes and a pair of antennae.  The head is attached to the thorax which is attached to the dome shaped abdomen.  This dome consists of hard wings in red, orange or yellow with an assorted number of black dots.  Under this shell like dome are another set of wings that are used for flight.  The  Lady Beetle has short legs, much shorter than most other beetles.

Some Ladybird Beetle Facts

-  lifespan 2-3 years
-  able to retract their head into their thorax (visualize a turtle)
-  secrete a foul tasking fluid from their joints to discourage predators
-  adults range in size from 1/8th to 3/8th inches long
-  some species eat plants 

Most Lady Bugs lay their eggs in clusters near aphid populations.  The larvae emerge and eat the aphids.  In the typical larvae's 3- 6 weeks they eat up to 5,000 aphids.  The larvae are black and bristly in appearance and are usually found clinging to leaves with a belly full of aphids.  Ladybird Beetles lay several batches of eggs per year.

Why do you sometimes find Lady Bugs in your house?  These insects hibernate in groups, generally in places where aphids live.  Therefore, Lady Beetles hibernate in plant brush, under rocks and in buildings.  If they are in your house, this may mean you have aphids in your house.  Or you did, before the Lady Bugs came in and ate them.


  1. Cute post Lynn and informative too. I didn't know they pulled their heads in. BTW, what happened to the Kuvasz--I was looking forward to it?

    1. Thanks Eve.

      Breed Profiles are once a month. The Kuvasz will arrive in about 3 weeks. Stay tuned!

  2. I always wondered what lady bugs eat, but I never bothered to look it up.

    That's a fun read!

    1. Thanks Diane. It was fun learning about Lady Bugs for this post!

  3. As insects go, Ladybugs are one of my favorites!

  4. I've always heard they were a good insect to have around!