Lady Beetles in Your Garden

Lady beetles, more commonly called lady bugs, are one insect that you want to have in your garden. They eat pesky aphids.

There are several species of lady beetles so this article is about the convergent lady beetle. The friendly ladybug almost everyone is familiar with.

Europeans call the lady beetle the "ladybird".

Lady beetles are basically orange with black spots. The larvae however, look like little alligators and are easily mistaken for pests.

In the spring, adult lady beetles lay from 50 to 300 eggs. The eggs hatch in three to five days and feed for two to three weeks. The adults then emerge in about ten days. There will be five to six generations annually.

Both adult and larvae lady beetles eat soft bodied insect pests such as spider mites thrips, and eggs of the Colorado Potato Beetle, European Corn Borer and many other insects. Aphids, however, are their favorite food.

One larva eats about 400 aphids. An adult can eat three to ten aphids for each egg that it will lay. The adult will eat more than 5000 aphids during it's lifetime.

In the fall adult ladybeetles will start to congregate in warm areas to hibernate for the winter. They will find homes at the base of trees, under leaves and mulched areas, under rocks, and sometimes find their way into homes. Unless they are inside a home they should be left alone to spend the winter for they will once again come to life and start their life cycle to protect the garden from aphids and other soft bodied pests.

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Author: Marilyn Pokorney
Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment.
Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading.
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