Lady Beetle, Ladybeetle, Ladybird, Ladybird Beetle, Lady Beetle, Ladybug
Ladybirds are one of the most recognisable beetles, if not insects! They're best known for their hunting abilities, where many species specialise feeding on aphids, scale insects, whitefly and caterpillars in some cases. Although a large majority of the Family are garden-friendly, there's one group which can be problematic. Ladybirds found in the Subfamily Epilachninae are herbivores, attacking the leaves and fruits of some vegetable plants.
Most are predatory, helping to keep garden pest populations under control.
Species of ladybird in the Subfamily Epilachninae feed on garden plants.
When thinking of these insects, our first thought is bright red with black polka dots. However, these insects are surprisingly diverse and colourful. Many display a vivid base colour such as red, orange, white, black or yellow; with some form of patterning, normally spots or stripes. The combination of colour and pattern signals to predators that these insects are toxic to eat. Ladybirds are typically hemispherical in shape, short-legged; with the head tucked-in closely behind the following body segment (Pronotum). They can appear 'smooth and shiny' or 'hairy and matte'. The larvae are distinctive. 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 nymphs produce a waxy substance that forms tufts behind its rear. They're a small insect, growing no larger than 1cm. A Two-spot Ladybird will only grow as large as 0.5cm.
You can attract beneficial ladybirds 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.
Explore our Knowledgebase to learn more about ladybird insects, including how to tell the good from the bad.