Ladybugs are insects that belong to the order Coleoptera. They have four wings and two long legs with claws. These insects live in tropical regions of the world such as Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. There are over 100 species of ladybugs found worldwide. The most common type of ladybug is called Orange Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata). Other types include:
Black Ladybird (Coccinellidae) – Black ladybirds are often mistaken for ladybugs because they look similar. However, black ladybirds are not true ladybugs. They have a very small abdomen which is yellowish or brown in color and their bodies are much smaller than those of other species of ladybug.
Their antennae are shorter than those of other species and they lack the characteristic “tipped” rear end that distinguishes them from true ladies.
Red Ladybird (Coleus spp.) – Red ladybirds are sometimes confused with ladybugs because they both have red abdomens. However, these beetles have a longer abdomen than those of other species of ladybug and their bodies are larger than those of the orange or black variety.
Also, unlike the orange or black varieties, red ladybirds have no distinctive markings on their backsides. They usually live in groups but may occasionally be solitary.
Four Spotted Ladybird or Domed Firelily (Hippodamia tredecimpunctata) – This species has a shell-like outer surface and is part of the Coccinellidae family. It prefers to live in grasslands, woodlands and forests. These beetles are slow moving and usually do not stray too far from their chosen habitat.
They tend to be most active during early mornings and late afternoons. H. tredecimpunctata is considered a predaceous beetle because it kills and eats aphids, scale insects and other small insects.
Eleven Spotted Ladybird (Hippodamia 11punctata) – This species is also part of the Coccinellidae family. It has a short, wide body and is usually red with white spots. The primary food source of this beetle is mildew and mold that grows on various plants.
It is found in North America, Central America and South America.
Other types of ladybugs found all over the world include:
Asian Ladybird (Mealybug Destroyer) (Harmonia axyridis) – This species is large and has a yellow body with various sized black spots. It is native to Asia but was introduced to North America to control aphids and mealy bugs. Today, it can be found all over the world.
Mexican Bean Beetle (Epilachna varivestis) – This species is part of the Coccinellidae family. It has a black body with distinctive yellow spots and red patches on its head and legs.
Are Ladybugs Dangerous?
While most ladybugs feed on mildew, mold and other types of fungus, there are some types that are mildly poisonous or toxic to humans and animals. Most of these types are native to Australia. For instance, the Yellow-Backed Ladybird (Epilachna vigintioctopunctata) is native to Australia and its toxin is poisonous to humans. The Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) is also mildly toxic.
The reason why some ladybugs are toxic or poisonous to humans is because they feed on plants that contain these noxious substances. These types of ladybugs should not be handled by humans, especially when they are hungry. When they feel threatened or squeezed, these types of insects will secrete a poisonous substance that can cause reactions such as mild irritation to severe allergic reactions in humans.
The Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) is relatively new to the United States and is very common in various parts of this country. It was originally brought into the U.S.
in the early 1900s to control aphids on crops. Today, it can be found in all the states east of the Mississippi River and has also spread to various parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. It is also present in Canada.
The Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) is considered to be a beneficial insect because it feeds on aphids and other soft-bodied insects such as mealy bugs. This species is also very rapid in breeding and its population can increase by as much as a thousand percent in a year. It was first introduced into the U.S.
to control aphids on crops but it has since been found feeding on various fruits such as grapes, peaches, pears and apples. This species has also been known to feed on various types of seedlings, some of which are crops and others that are trees that are native to the U.S. and Canada.
What Do Ladybugs Eat?
The most common food source for many ladybugs is aphids. Other types of insects make up part of their diet and some species even feed on other smaller species of ladybugs. Most ladybugs feed on soft-bodied insects, but a few species are predators and feed on other small insects and even other small species of ladybugs.
How Long Do Ladybugs Live?
The average life span of most ladybugs is about 2 to 3 years, but some species live for only a few months while others can live up to 7 years. The life span of a ladybug also varies depending on its habitat as well as the climate in which it lives. For instance, ladybugs living in colder climates usually have shorter life spans than those living in warmer climates.
How Big Do Ladybugs Get?
The size of a ladybug also varies depending on the type of species as well as its age. Most ladybird beetles are about 5 to 10 millimeters long, but some tropical species can reach up to 25 millimeters.
What Color is a Ladybug?
Most ladybugs are red with black spots, but the exact shade of red and number of spots varies depending on the specific species. Some species have more yellow in their color scheme than others. The average number of spots on most ladybugs is between 5 and 15, but some can have as few as one or as many as 40 or more. The spots are usually round, but some can be kidney-shaped.
What Do Ladybug Eggs Look Like?
The eggs of a ladybug are very small and are usually white in color. The eggs of most species are spherical in shape, but the eggs of some species are shaped like elongated ovals or even like long, thin strands.
What Do Ladybugs Eat As Babies?
Most ladybug eggs hatch within 3 to 12 days and the larvae that hatch from them are very tiny and incapable of feeding themselves. In fact, they are so small that they are almost invisible to the human eye. To feed themselves, ladybug larvae feed on small insects or insect parts that have been chewed up by the female parent and passed through her body for digestion and then regurgitated a more suitable size for her young. After they have consumed this “milk”, the larvae then excrete a sticky substance that is called “honeydew”.
What is The Lifespan of a Ladybug?
The lifespan of a ladybug, like most beetles is very variable. As babies, the average ladybug or larva lives for around 2 to 6 months. As adults, most live for around 9 to 14 months, but as stated earlier some species have been known to live for up to 7 years.
Are Ladybugs Beneficial Insects?
Yes, ladybugs are considered beneficial insects. They help to control the population of insect pests such as aphids, mealy bugs and mites by feeding on them.
How do I Know if I have a Stuffed or Splatted Ladybug in my House?
The best way to determine if you have a genuine stuffed ladybug, or one that is alive and flying around your house is to observe its behavior. A genuine stuffed ladybug will not move or fly around. It will just sit on a shelf, dressed in its finery and be a conversation piece. A live ladybug will most likely be crawling around, slowly but surely in no particular direction. It might even be flying around aimlessly. If this is the case, you have a live one on your hands.
How Do I Get Rid of Live Ladybugs?
If you have a live ladybug in your house, it is probably because it was attracted to the odor of aphids or other plant lice on your plants. So the first thing that you should do is make sure your houseplants are free of such pests. You can also try vacuuming the ladybug up using a vacuum cleaner. Do not use a broom to sweep it up or kill it in any way, because ladybugs are very delicate and die easily if harmed. The best way to get rid of a ladybug is by catching it in a cup or glass and then sliding a piece of cardboard underneath it to release it outside in the garden.
How Do I Get Rid of Live Ladybugs in My House?
If you have live ladybugs in your house that are not limited to a single plant, there is probably an infestation of aphids or other plant lice somewhere in your house. You should start looking for aphids or mealy bugs on your houseplants and get rid of them. You should also carefully inspect any potted plants that you brought into your house recently, because such plants are prone to infestations of aphids and other insects. If you find any such pests on your houseplants, treat the plant with an insecticide. If this doesn’t work, you may have to discard the plant.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Asian ladybugs (Harmonia axyridis): a new seasonal indoor allergen by S Quintero – HEAL: Humanism Evolving through Arts and Literature, 2020 – journals.flvc.org
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