Ladybirds are commonly found in gardens and they fulfil an important ecological function i.e. biological pest control.
They are outstanding biological control agents, as both the larval and adult stages are predatory, meaning that they can spend almost their entire life feeding on common garden pests.
The development of ladybirds is complete metamorphosis, with stages egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Depending on the species, the development of a ladybird from egg to adult can take between 4-8 weeks.
The appearance of the larval and adult stages differs completely: alligator-looking larvae look more ferocious, compared to the elegant tortoise-looking adults.
Ladybird larva. Photo by @dani.
There can be multiple generations per year, which is fantastic news for any gardener! Ladybirds are known to control aphids. Female beetles will lay eggs (few to few hundred depending on species) and as soon as the larvae emerge, they will start feeding on the aphids. These ladybirds also help in controlling other soft-bodied insects, including scale insects, whitefly, mealybugs and spider mites.
Ladybirds are important bio-control agents in gardens and on farms. There are a variety of plants which you can plant in your garden to attract these insects, which include: garlic, geranium, dill, calendula, parsley, dandelion, fennel, cosmos, mint, chives, and many more. Start planting some of these plants in the garden and you will increase the population of your ladybirds in your garden.