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Ladybird

Coccinellidae

Ladybird, Lady Beetle, Ladybeetle, Ladybird Beetle, Lady Beetle, Ladybug, Ladybird Larvae, Ladybeetle Larvae

A close up photograph of a ladybird beetle Coccinellidae on a leaf
Coccinella quinquepunctata (10914526086) by Gilles San Martin (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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Ladybirds and their larvae are some of the most recognisable beetles, no matter where your location! Both mature adults and the larvae are skilled garden minibeasts, predating Aphids, Scale Insects, Whitefly and Caterpillars in some cases. One ladybird larvae can eat up to 100 aphids in one day! Ladybird larvae look very different compared with the adults. They're small (approx <1cm), elongated and spikey with no shell. They typically have spots and stripes of colour, and most are dark-coloured. Although a vast majority of ladybirds are garden-friendly, there's one group which can be problematic. The subfamily Epilachninae are herbivores, attacking the leaves and fruits of some vegetables. Where they occur, they can be minor garden pests. There are roughly 450 species present across North America!

Traits

Most are predatory, helping to control garden pest populations.
Species in Subfamily Epilachninae will eat plants.

Appearance

Adults: When thinking of these insects, our first thought is bright red with black polka dots. However, these insects are surprisingly diverse and colourful. Base colours include red, orange, white, black or yellow. They can have spots or stripes. Ladybirds are typically hemispherical, short-legged; with the head tucked-in closely behind the following body segment (Pronotum). They can appear 'smooth and shiny' or 'hairy and matte'. They're a small insect, growing no larger than a 1cm. A Two-spot Ladybird will only grow as large as 0.5cm. Larvae: Ladybird larvae are distinctive and almost diamond-shaped. They're commonly black or grey with markings to match their parents, e.g. a yellow ladybird nymph will be black with yellow markings. Of course, this is just a general rule of thumb. Some larvae produce a waxy substance that forms tufts behind its rear end.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Coleoptera

Family

Coccinellidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Worldwide

Biological treatment

You can attract beneficial ladybirds and larvae into your garden by installing insect habitats. This could either be a bug box or insect hotel; or other alternatives include flower borders, hanging baskets, hedges, wildflower patches and herb gardens.

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