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~ Ladybugs ~

Ladybugs, or ladybird beetles, are universally recognized as beneficial insects, consuming large numbers of aphids and other small, sap-sucking insects, as well as pollen. Protected by a foul-tasting yellow defensive liquid, the colorful insects are very tame and amenable to being handled by curious children.

Since the deliberate introduction of the Asian Lady Beetle Harmonia axyridis, native North American Ladybugs are become noticeably scarcer. Its appearance is quite variable, from having no spots at all, to being boldly spotted. Insects born during the summer are orange, and insects having overwintered at least once are red.

Typically over a few warm, sunny autumn days, the beetles suddenly take flight in search of shelter for the winter. Preferred shelters include buildings where ladybugs have overwintered in previous years, and the pheromones that the insects have released at those sites are believed to attract them to return over large distances.

They prefer the sunny sides of light-colored buildings, where they will crawl feverishly until they find cracks or small openings, including window and door frames, garages doors and outbuildings, soffits, siding and shingles. They may accidentally find their way inside homes. They are best ignored or returned outdoors. They are looking for cool and sheltered places where they must hibernate. They cannot survive for long inside houses because suitable food is not available, and are usually adept at finding a cooler nook where they will spend the winter in suspended animation.

View MOVIE of Asian Ladybugs aggregating in an entrance hall in the fall, in search of a cool shelter to hibernate.

Some Ladybug Species

Twenty-two spotted ladybug
Thea 22-punctata
This minuscule ladybug does not eat aphids, it is a vegetarian hungry for mildew. If you have perennial phlox, a plant prone to heavy, late-summer mildew infestations, look beneath the affected leaves and you are sure to find this ladybug despite its camouflage colours.

Fourteen spotted ladybug
Propylea 14-punctata
This small ladybug is always a saturated yellow with an attractive checkerboard pattern, as its spots are squarish and tend to join up at the corners.

Cream-spotted ladybug
Calvia quattuordecimguttata
The cream-spotted ladybug beetle occurs in waves. It forages mostly in the tree tops, but will sometimes come down to our level in large numbers to be seen amongst shrubbery of sunflowers, then suddenly disappear back in the trees.

Two-spotted ladybug
Adalia bipunctata
Once very common in North America, the two-spotted ladybug has been noticeably displaced by the introduced Asian Ladybug and Seven-spotted ladybug. It is now only occasionally found in meadows, fields, and gardens, and may hibernate in company of other species.

Parenthesis ladybug
Hippodamia parenthesis
It is the Parenthesis ladybug beetle's instinct to drop to the ground at the slightest disturbance. Its two-tone orange and red elytra are very attractive, as are the parenthesis-shaped spots! Often found feeding on the nectar or aphids of meadow parsnip.

Three-banded ladybug
Coccinella trifasciata
This attractive ladybug is yellow during the summer of its birth. After the first hibernation, the elytra turn a deep red, and the bands are highlighted with a cream-colored halo.

Convergent Ladybug
Hippodamia convergens
The name "convergent" refer to the two convergent lines on its thoracic shield. This ladybug is very common in the Southwest, and in Canada is often found feeding on the mustard-yellow aphids that infest milkweed.

Twelve-spotted ladybug
Coleomegilla maculata
This quick-footed ladybug is an oval beetle with distinctive magenta elytra with bold spots. When aphids or mites are scarce, the insect will feed on the abundant pollen of plants such as corn, sunflowers or dandelions. It is believed that pollen makes up 50% of this ladybug's diet. It is very susceptible to parasitic wasps.

Seven-spotted ladybug
Coccinella septempunctata
Several attempts were made to introduce this European beetle to North America fo the biological control of aphids, successfully in New Jersey in the early 1970's. Like the Asian ladybug, it is a voracious aphid predator and has caused a reduction in the number of native beetles throughout the East.

Asian ladybug
Harmonia axyridis
This large introduced species reproduces at a phenomenal rate and consumes large quantities of aphids. It is extremely variable in its appearance, boldly spotted (above) or completely spotless (below), and everything in between. Insects that have not yet overwintered are orange in color, while the older insects are intensely red.

Click to enlarge

Home infestation. This is only temporary.

Fall aggregation around soffit.

Looking for shelter around the foundation.

Around garage door.

More on ceiling.

Ladybug Links

Celtic Bug - Everything from books, screensavers to art work and ladybug facts.
Free stained glass pattern - Free ladybug stained glass pattern.

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