Have you ever heard that if a ladybug lands on you that it is good luck? I’d like to think it is. The most common ladybug to see is the red ladybug with a black head and black dots. However, there are many different species of ladybugs and many amazing ladybug facts to learn.
The scientific name is coccinellidae septempunctata. That means seven spot ladybug. A common name for ladybugs is lady beetles or ladybird beetles. So you may also hear them called that.
Ladybugs are carnivores which means they eat small insects. They are beneficial insects because they eat tiny insects from your garden. That’s helpful!
Characteristics of a Ladybug
The ladybug has eight body parts.
Ladybugs are insects, a beetle, and there are about 5,000 different types. Most ladybugs are oval shaped. They have 6 short legs.
Elytra is a fancy word for outer shell. The ladybug has an elytra, or hard shell, that protects them from predators and hides their wings. If ladybugs do use their wings to fly, they fold them back up and put the wings back under the elytra. Isn’t that cool that ladybugs have hidden wings?
There are different kinds of ladybugs. Some have stripes instead of black spots. Other ladybugs come in different colors such as orange or yellow. They may have red spots, yellow spots, or even white spots. There are even rare blue ladybugs. See, I told you they come in a variety of colors!
Ladybug Life Cycle
Female ladybugs lay tiny eggs underneath leaves so that they are hidden. The eggs are yellow. It takes 2 to 10 days for the eggs to hatch. Some of the eggs don’t hatch.
When the eggs hatch, the larvae are black with yellow spots. Right when they are born, the young ladybugs need something to eat. The ladybug larvae feed on the eggs that didn’t hatch. They need a lot to eat and the eggs are a short supply of food. So next they start eating aphids.
In the pupal stage, the shell is orange with black dots. Underneath the shell a lot of changes are happening and the ladybug is getting ready to turn into an adult.
As the ladybug leaves the pupal stage and moves into the adult stage, they are a light green color and their shells are soft for a short amount of time. They are full size.
What Ladybugs Eat
Ladybugs eat aphids, fruit flies, and white flies. In one year, they can eat more than 5,000 aphids. That helps to keep the aphid populations under control. Ladybugs don’t see very well, but they have a great sense of smell. They use their sense of smell to hunt for food.
What Eats Ladybugs
There are quite a few potential predators looking to eat ladybugs. Ladybug predators are birds, frogs, spiders and dragonflies. Can you imagine a dragonfly eating a ladybug?
Because birds and other animals are hunting for them, ladybugs have bright colors. The red color of a ladybug is a defense mechanism. It tells birds and other ladybug predators to stay away because they are dangerous for them to eat or don’t taste good.
If they feel threatened, a poisonous liquid will come out of its leg joints. That bad tasting goo will hopefully cause the animal to spit out the ladybug instead of eating it.
Where Ladybugs Live
Ladybugs usually live about one to two years. They live all over the world except for parts of North America or Russia where it is too cold. They can’t be found in the North Pole or South Pole either. They were brought over to the United States in the 1990s to help protect the crops.
Ladybugs live in many different habitats such as in forests, grasslands, fields, and near water. They usually live where there are a lot of plant eating insects, like aphids, to eat.
Usually you will see just a single ladybug here and there. If you see large groups them that is because it is Winter and they are trying to stay warm and alive.
How Ladybugs are Helpful
Ladybugs do not harm people and are helpful in so many ways. They eat plant pests in crops so that farmers can keep producing quality foods for us to eat. They play important roles in gardens and crops because if each ladybug can eat around 5,000 insects in a year, many ladybugs working together can eat thousands of aphids and little insects each year.
Fun Ladybug Facts
Here’s a summary of the fun facts about a lady bug.
- Ladybugs are sometimes go by the name ladybirds or the common name lady beetle.
- Beneficial ladybugs help our gardens and farmer’s crops by eating pesky insects.
- They live 1 to 2 years.
- Their bright colors help them warn predators, like birds, to stay away from them.
- We hope you enjoyed these interesting ladybug facts! Did you learn something new?
Now you should go on a hunt for ladybugs. What color are they? Where do you find them? Do they have spots?