Bug of Week 12: Ladybug

Ladybugs- also known as lady beetles or ladybird beetles- are friendly garden helpers who keep our crops safe by eating pesky insects like aphids. One ladybug can eat up to 5000 insects in its lifetime! They're also popular among children because of their bright red spotted shells- some even say they bring good luck!

Please be gentle and respectful to all animals and insects.

Species Coccinellidae

HABITAT (WHERE THEY LIVE): There are about 5000 different species of ladybugs, and they're found in all areas of the world. They're happy in many different habitats and climates, including rivers, grasslands, forests, suburbs, and cities.

NUTRITION (WHAT THEY EAT): Ladybugs are known primarily for being predators to garden pests such as aphids. They also feed on soft-bodied insects and insect eggs such as scale insects, mealybugs, and spider mites.


PREDATORS (WHO EATS THEM): Ladybugs are brightly colored which makes them unappealing to predators. They can also secrete a foul-smelling substance from their leg joints which acts as a defense mechanism. Ladybugs do sometimes fall victim to birds, frogs, dragonflies, wasps, and spiders.

LIFE CYCLE: Ladybugs lay their eggs on the underside of a leaf, usually where aphids have gathered. After a few days, larvae emerge. Some say ladybug larvae look like little alligators because they're long, black, and spiky. When the larvae reach full size they attach themselves to the bottom of a leaf, and an adult ladybug emerges a week or two later.

Sources: 

National Geographic

Wikipedia