Lady Bugs


Lady Bug Beetles are among the most beneficial insects in your Garden.
The hundreds of species are fond of Aphids, Scales, and Psyllids.
 
 
 


Top left shows a few of the countless variations found in the many species. 

Top right is a photo of a LadyBug with wings extended for flight.

Blue Insert is the LadyBug Larvae which may be even more voracious than the adult.

Red Insert is the native species found in the Eastern United States, prior to the introduction of the Asian species which now seems to dominate the landscape. 

The native species is smaller and more elongated rather than being so round. And unlike many species, the smaller Thorax is colored the same as the much larger Wing Covers (elytra), as seen in the photo. This coloration is nearly always black dots  on red.

Yellow Insert is the top view of the elongated Eggs which are laid on the under side of growing leaves. The edge of a Penny can be seen for size comparison. The Lady bug seems to select vegetation preferred by Aphids so there is a supply of Aphid Larvae.

Bottom is a Hibernation congregation. These concentrations form in protected Winter locations, and may contain many hundreds of individuals, which indicates a healthy population that should make their mark on the local Aphid population next Summer.


 
 In Spring the Females disburse to lay about 2 dozen eggs, which hatch in 3 to 5 days. The Larvae search for their favorite prey which is usually Aphids. Depending on the location and availability of food, they may prefer different species and may even revert to eating their own kind.

After about 2 weeks, the Larvae change to Pupae and then to Adults. From Egg to Adult takes about a month. It is thought they may possibly live for 2 years, in which time they would eat thousands of Larvae and  have hundreds of offspring with a similar appetite.

They are responsible for the childhood poem:

 - - - 
Ladybug!  Ladybug!  Fly away home.
Your house is on fire. And your children all gone.

All except one, And that's little Ann,
For she crept under The frying pan.
 - - - 

What could possibly have prompted those words?
 
 
 

If LadyBugs become a nuisance inside your warm winter home. Do NOT try to brush or sweep them as they may emit an unpleasant odor and stain surfaces with their defensive secretion. This action may cause discomfort to persons with Asthma or Allergies.

A piece of window screen shaped like a cone, and inserted into the end of a Vacuum Cleaner Hose will collect them safely so you can release them in your GreenHouse. Or put them in a container with an air hole in the lid and keep them in your refrigerator until Spring, when they can help rid your garden of Aphids and other insect pests. 

Or you can buy them from your Garden Center, but a Word of Caution: LadyBugs living in your area may be more dependable than those you import, since their natural inclination is to disburse and populate new areas away from the scent of their own species.

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