The flexibility of the ladybug in different habitats is what allows it to thrive. Just as easily as they will live in grasslands and forests, they’ll also collect in cities and suburbs. Some swarms can even be found along rivers. When they are ready to lay eggs, they will simply leave their larvae on the underside of a leaf.

There are more than 5000 different species of ladybugs in the world. These much-loved critters are also known as lady beetles or ladybird beetles. They come in many different colors and patterns, but the most familiar in North America is the seven-spotted ladybug, with its shiny, red-and-black body. In many cultures, ladybugs are considered good luck.

Ladybugs live about 1 year and lay anywhere from 3 to 300 eggs. The incubation period is 5 to 8 days and they become mature in 3 to 7 weeks. Ladybugs are 0.08 to 0.4 inches in size. As they fly, they beat their wings about 85 times per second[1]. Of all the creepy crawlies, ladybugs are the most beloved and respected of insects.

Ladybug Facts

Ladybugs are known as Ladybirds in the United Kingdom
which came from Britain’s description of it – “Our Lady’s bird.”

The colorful beetles were not introduced to North America until
the mid-1900s as a way to control the growing population of aphids.

The number of spots on the ladybird’s back does not tell its age.
That’s an old wives’ tale.

Ladybirds that go into diapause, the insect version of hibernation,
break out of it when the temperature hits 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coccinellids are colored as brightly as they are to dissuade predators,
not to delight humans. If the predator persists,
the insect releases toxins from its “knees.”
This is called reflex bleeding.

Lady “bugs” are a group of beetles that are also known as ladybird beetles or lady beetles and have the scientific name Coccinellidae which means scarlet. Ladybugs are small and usually quite round in shape. The color on the wing covers (elytra) can be yellow, orange, or red and often has small black dots on it. Some species are solid black. Ladybugs also have black legs, heads, and antennae.

Ladybugs are loved by farmers because they eat aphids[2] and other crop-harming insects including thrips, caterpillars, beetle larvae, scale insects, spider mites, mealybugs, other ladybirds, and greenflies. Many lay their eggs directly in aphid and scale insect colonies, ensuring their larvae have an immediate food source.

The oldest fossils are known from the Oise amber[3] of France, dating to the Early Eocene[4] (Ypresian) around 53 million years ago. Their predators include birds, rodents, reptiles, insects, dragonflies, frogs, toads, wasps, spiders, stink bugs, assassin bugs

  1. Insects that beat their wings less than one hundred times a second use synchronous muscle. Synchronous muscle is a type of muscle that contracts once for every nerve impulse. [Back]
  2. Aphids are small sap-sucking insects and members of the superfamily Aphidoidea. Common names include greenfly and blackfly, although individuals within a species can vary widely in color. The group includes the fluffy white woolly aphids. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions. In addition to weakening the plant by sucking sap, they act as vectors for plant viruses and disfigure ornamental plants with deposits of honeydew and the subsequent growth of sooty molds. Control of aphids is not easy. Insecticides do not always produce reliable results, given resistance to several classes of insecticides and the fact that aphids often feed on the undersides of leaves. On a garden scale, water jets and soap sprays are quite effective. Natural enemies include predatory ladybugs, hoverfly larvae, parasitic wasps, aphid midge larvae, crab spiders, lacewing larvae, and entomopathogenic fungi. An integrated pest management strategy using biological pest control can work but is difficult to achieve except in enclosed environments such as greenhouses. [Back]
  3. Amber is a fossilized tree resin that has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of decorative objects. Amber is used in jewelry and has been used as a healing agent in folk medicine. [Back]
  4. The Eocene Epoch is a geological epoch that lasted from about 56 to 33.9 million years ago (mya). It is the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the modern Cenozoic Era. The name Eocene comes from the Ancient Greek ἠώς (ēṓs, “dawn”) and καινός (kainós, “new”) and refers to the “dawn” of modern (‘new’) fauna that appeared during the epoch. [Back]

Further Reading


National Geographic
San Diego Zoo
A-Z Animals

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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