Top 15 Questions About Ladybugs Answered

We’ve rounded up the top 15 questions about ladybugs and answered them for you. Once you’re done reading, you’ll know all about ladybugs and some fascinating facts about them.

But first, who thinks ladybugs are cute?

The Top 15 Questions About Ladybugs Answered!

ladybug on top of the pole
King of the Mountain Ladybug

I grew up in an area where people had beautiful gardens. There were ornamental gardens with tons of flowers and vegetable gardens brimming with delicious produce.

The gardens were prolific. I could always find colorful butterflies flitting, territorial hummingbirds guarding, stoic praying mantis sunning, and ladybugs.

Ladybug, Fly Away Home

Remember the song, “ladybug, ladybug fly away home… ?”

“Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home

Your house is on fire and your children are gone

All except one, and that’s Little Anne

For she has crept under the warming pan.”

I remember singing this rhyme anytime I had a ladybug fly away from my hand.

I would catch a cute ladybug, hold her in my hand, turn in circles singing the song, and voila! The ladybug was no longer in my hand. She must have flown away home!

It always made me wonder where her home was, and kind of sad that all the children were gone. I wonder where she went! Let’s hope she’s flying to our gardens!

. . .

Are Ladybugs Good for Pest Control?

One of the first of the top 15 questions about ladybugs that we answered was, “can ladybugs be used for pest control?”

I found a few aphids in my garden the other day. As a result, I wanted to research natural pest control and see if I could get rid of them before they could hurt my plants.

Ladybugs and praying mantis came up as being voracious aphid eaters. Did you know that ladybugs can eat up to 50 aphids per day? Talk about pest control!

When you buy them, the ladybugs are alive and in a carton. You get hundreds. On the other hand, you get one praying mantis egg in a little bag.

I think the ladybugs won out by sheer numbers. They are so cheerful! The mantis is cute too, once it hatches! You would win with either the mantis or the ladybugs.

. . .

Do Ladybugs Come In Containers?

ladybugs in two containers on a wood railing
Ladybugs in Containers

So, after my research, I got some ladybugs from the hardware store. They were in a container with holes in the top. You can see the picture above.

There were holes in the tops. You could feel their little feet through the holes as they walked upside down on the lid!

We let them go at dusk in the garden to see if we can try to control the aphids. It was really fun to watch them spread out over the plants!

I made a YouTube video to share the experience with you. You can watch it here. You will really enjoy seeing the ladybugs leave their containers and spread all over the garden!

. . .

Where Did The Name Ladybug Come From?

This is another of the top 15 questions about ladybugs that we answered for you. “Where did the name ladybug come from?”

The name “ladybug” originated in Europe.

During the middle ages, European farmers who prayed to the Virgin Mary really prayed when pests began eating their crops. Ladybugs came and wiped out the pest invaders.

Because of their help, the farmers named them “beetle of our lady” which has been shortened to “lady beetle,” “ladybug.”

Today, they’re called ladybugs in North America and ladybirds in Britain.

In North America, we have the 7-spotted ladybugs. These are bright red or orange with black bodies. There are 3 black spots on each side and one in the middle. They have a black head with white patches on either side.

. . .

What Are Ladybugs?

Is it a bug or a beetle?

Did you know that ladybugs are not really bugs but beetles? They belong to the Coleoptera order which includes all beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae).

There are nearly 6,000 different species of ladybugs over the world, and 450 of them are found in North America. Amazingly, California has 175 species alone!

Ladybug beetles are small and rounded insects with colorful wings. Their wings can be red, orange, brown, or yellow. They can have spots, stripes, or other patterns. The most familiar ladybug is red with black spots.

. . .

Why Do Ladybugs Have Spots?

Ladybugs have round, dome-shaped bodies and a protective covering over the wings. The spots and patterns are usually seen on their wings. Their legs, head, and antennae are black.

Despite folklore, the number of spots will not tell you the ladybug’s age. Her secret is safe, which is good since a lady never reveals her age!

Ladybug predators include birds, frogs, spiders, dragonflies, and wasps. The spots and bright colors act as a deterrent and protective device. Plus, they can secrete a foul, smelly fluid from their joints if disturbed.

To protect themselves, ladybugs might play dead and secrete the unappetizing fluid that predators don’t like.

Most ladybugs are beneficial predatory insects in both adult and larvae stages. They primarily feed on aphids but will also eat other pests like mites, small insects, and insect eggs.

It’s been shown that just one ladybug can eat up to 5,000 aphids in its lifetime.

. . .

Are Ladybugs Lucky?

The website Ladybug Planet says that “their bright and colorful look along with their happy-go-lucky travel means living life without boundaries.

Ladybugs are considered to be lucky. According to folklore, if you see one, good fortune and prosperity will come to you.

Here are some of the folk tales:

  • When a ladybug lands on you, it’s considered a sign of good luck since you’ll be granted more patience and fewer burdens.
  • Or if you count the spots of the ladybug who lands on you, it will indicate the number of months before you find true love.
  • Some say that when you see a ladybug, look at its spots. The darker they are, the greater amount of fortune you’re likely to receive. You’ll never look at a ladybug the same again!
  • Perhaps the spots are a reminder from the universe to count the blessings you already have around you. Stop and think of as many ways you are blessed as the ladybug has spots. Then they say any luck and good fortune will be bestowed upon you.
  • If you see a ladybug who has no spots, it means you will have an imminent meeting of a true love or a rekindling of an old love. If you’re already with your true love, the ladybug with no spots is a reminder to maintain your love affair with that person.
  • Here’s a ladybug I saw the other day that had no spots. I’m with my true love now, so I guess I had better start to show that I appreciate him!

ladybug on blue tape with no spots
Ladybug With No Spots

  • If a ladybug bites you, take it as a sign to lighten up and take life less seriously. This will bring love and luck back into your life.

. . .

Are Ladybugs Against Violence?

  • The ladybug street tile is a symbol against “senseless violence” in the Netherlands. It’s recognized as a sign of universal protest against violence.
  • We should all put out ladybug signs and tiles! Perhaps wear ladybug pins! I found some cute ladybug pins here available on Amazon.

. . .

Are Ladybugs Beneficial?

ladybugs gathered inside a leaf
Ladybugs In A Leaf

Yes! Ladybugs are very beneficial to the gardener and farmer. Native to Europe, they were brought to North America in mid-1900’s to control aphid populations

Then you might ask: “Why are ladybugs beneficial?”

Ladybugs are beneficial because they eat garden pests that can eat plants. The adults eat bugs that can damage and destroy crops. They’ll eat aphids, mealybugs, thrips, scale insects, spider mites, caterpillars, insect larvae, insect eggs, and other beetles.

They can eat up to 50 aphids per day, 5,000 in their lifetime!

But, they’ll also eat pollen, nectar, berries, and sap to survive if they can’t find any insects.

Though they can survive on pollen and nectar, a supply of aphids is necessary for egg production.

. . .

Where Do Ladybugs Lay Eggs?

And, planning ahead, they lay their eggs near aphid colonies so the larvae can eat aphids too.

The eggs are laid in clusters or rows on the underside of leaf, usually near an aphid colony.

ladybug eggs on underside of leaf
Ladybug Eggs Photo from University of Kentucky Entomology

Eggs are shaped like footballs and are yellow or orange in color. They’re laid in circular clusters of 3-20 on the underside of leaves. Females can lay 10-50 eggs per day.

. . .

Are Those Tiny Alligators?

Once born, the larvae will consume 400 aphids each at a rate of 50-60 aphids per day. If food is short, they will cannibalize each other.

The larvae look like small red and black alligators. They grow quickly, shedding their skin several times. Larvae live three weeks before pupating.

ladybug larvae eating aphids on underside of leaf
Larvae Eating Aphids From University of Kentucky Entomology

Once the larvae reach their full size, they attach to a leaf by their tail and a pupa is formed. Depending on the temperature, it will take three days to two weeks until the pupa emerges as an adult ladybug.

Within a single year, you can have five to six generations of ladybugs, as the average time from egg to adult takes only about 3-4 weeks. And the cycle begins again.

ladybug beside larvae on underside of leaf
7 Spot Ladybug and Larvae from University of Kentucky Entomology

. . .

What Is A Ladybug’s Life Like?

Ladybugs can live for one to two years and will grow to .3 to .4 inches long.

Searching for food all day from dawn to dusk, ladybugs will eat 50-60 aphids per day. It has been shown that one ladybug can consume as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime.

Aphids are the preferred meal, but ladybugs will eat other harmful insects and larvae including scales, thrips, mealy bugs, chinch bugs, leaf-hoppers, mites, whitefly, and various types of soft-bodied insects.

Ladybugs are active during the spring and fall. When it gets colder, they want to hibernate. You can find them in warm, secluded places that include inside the house or outbuildings, rotting logs, under rocks… Hibernating colonies can contain thousands of ladybugs!

. . .

How Can You Attract Ladybugs To Your Garden?

Now we know what ladybugs are good for and how beneficial ladybugs are to the gardener and farmer, how can we attract them to our gardens?

coreopsis flowers attract ladybugs
Coreopsis Flowers

Plant their favorite flowers

Ladybugs need pollen and nectar. They’re attracted to specific types of plants.

Some of their favorites include plants with umbrella-shaped flowers like fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, wild carrot, and yarrow.

Others include cosmos, coreopsis, scented geraniums, and dandelions.

Keep moisture levels high in your garden

Beneficial insects require lots of moisture and water to drink.

This is easier if you keep your plants and flowers planted closer together.

Eliminate insecticides

Ladybugs are sensitive to insecticides.

They have to have a source of aphids for the eggs to eat once they are hatched.

If their food source of aphids is gone, they cannot lay eggs in your garden.

. . .

Can You Purchase Ladybugs?

If you don’t have ladybugs naturally, you can also purchase ladybugs.

They’ll arrive in some kind of container. Mine came in a plastic container with a lid.

Keep them in a cool place, even in the refrigerator, until you’re ready to release them into your gardens. It is recommended that you release them late in the day or early evening.

. . .

How Do You Release Ladybugs?

Ladybugs are active during the day from dawn to dusk. They hide and sleep during the night.

Ladybugs are active during the day from dawn to dusk. They hide and sleep during the night.

Plan on releasing the ladybugs late in the day or early morning. They won’t fly at night and will have time to settle into your garden before morning when they will start looking for food.

Sprinkle or irrigate the area before releasing them, so the ladybugs can easily find a drink of water.

When releasing them, gently scatter them or spread them out so each ladybug can find food immediately. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they will scatter looking for food!

The ladybugs will eat until dark, then start gathering in groups under leaves for the night. Sleep tight!

Here’s a picture that I took the early next day after I released the ladybugs.

ladybugs gathered together on a red ribbon
Ladybugs Gathered Together

The next morning, I found my ladybugs all over the garden. Some were walking on plant stems, some were gathered together under leaves, and some were eating pests.

They all look happy in their new home. Ladybugs are beneficial to my garden. I hope they stay.

. . .

Can Ladybugs Be Destructive?

Ladybugs are generally revered for their ability to control pests in the garden.

One of the top 15 questions about ladybugs that we answered is: are there any destructive ladybugs out there?

There are some destructive ladybugs you should know about These bad ladybugs will consume and kill plants, harm dogs, and cause damage to your home.

Three of these destructive ladybugs are the Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis Pallas), the Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis) and the squash beetle (Epilachna borealis). They are destructive and cause damage in both the adult and larvae stages.

You definitely don’t want these three around!

The Asian Lady Beetle

asian lady beetle on twig has distinctive black m on head
Asian Lady Beetle

The Asian lady beetle can be aggressive, invade your home, and harm your dogs.

They secrete a foul-smelling yellowish liquid that can stain walls and furniture.

If your dog swallows them, he could choke or get ulcers.

Asian lady beetles will congregate in large numbers and enter your home to overwinter.

You can tell them apart from the friendly ladybug by the “M” shaped marking behind the bug’s head.

If you find these beetles, remove them from inside your home ASAP! They multiply quickly!

I remember a friend of ours who had millions (yes, millions!) f ladybugs all around their wood cabin. I thought they were so cute and that my friends were so lucky to have so many around.

But the true story became more apparent in the fall and winter as the weather got colder.

The ladybugs moved inside.

Yikes! There were ladybugs everywhere!

Ladybugs covering the walls in their attic, crawling on the windowsills throughout the house, and lying dead on the floors.

They were not so cute anymore!

So, what do you do when you notice hundreds of ladybugs inside your home?

hundreds of ladybugs on leaves
Ladybug Infestation, picture from Virginia Tech

Now that you know about the Bad Ladybugs and the damage they can co, what can you do if you notice an infestation of ladybugs?

Ladybugs will head indoors when the weather starts turning cold. They just want to keep warm during their hibernation in the winter months. You just want to them to say outside!

An excellent source of helpful tips for getting rid of the infestation can be found at How To Get Rid Of Ladybugs from the website in a new tab)

  • The first tip is they point out is, of course, to prevent an infestation in the first place.
    • Your preparations for winter that include caulking and sealing all doors, windows, and other areas where the bugs can get in will all help keep them out.
  • If they do come in, you have a couple of options:
    • You can vacuum them up and relocate them outside.
    • You can use insecticide or diatomaceous earth, then vacuum them up when they are dead.
    • Use one of several natural products that are listed including spraying citrus and soap, oil and soap, camphor and menthol, or neem oil. The site will give you the recipes.
    • Use one of the over-the-counter products that the site recommends, including ultrasonic pest repellant.
  • Head on over to the site to read the details and recommendations that they have for you.

. . .

Two Other Bad Guys

The next two we talk about are destructive pests in both the adult and larvae stages that will consume the crops they are named after.

The Mexican Bean Beetle

The Mexican bean beetle is quite variable in color, ranging from bright red to rusty brown to golden yellow.

The larvae are usually yellow, spiny, and shaped like a pill.

You can recognize the Mexican bean beetle adult which has orange bodies with eight black spots on each wing cover.

They can be controlled using parasitoid wasps or short-duration systemic insecticides.

Early detection is key!

mexican bean beetle is orange on underside of green leaf
Mexican Bean Beetle from University of Kentucky Entomology

The Squash Beetle

The squash beetle is yellow with seven large black spots on each wing and four small black spots on its “neck.”

The larvae are bright yellow, pill-shaped with spines.

You can recognize the squash beetle adult which has orange bodies with seven black spots.

They can be controlled using parasitoid wasps or short-duration systemic insecticides.

Early detection is key!

Destructive Babies

The larvae of both the Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle are destructive.

It’s easy to differentiate them from ladybug larvae, as they both have yellow bodies and look totally different than other ladybug larvae. The beneficial ones look a bit like a tiny alligator crawling around.

yellow larvae of Mexican and squash beetles
Larvae of Mexican and Squash Beetles from University of Kentucky Entomology

Be on the alert for these bad guys. They can destroy your garden. So, you want to stop them as soon as you see them. Or before they cause damage to your house.

. . .

Top 15 Ladybug Questions Answered

lone ladybug on leaf
Lone Ladybug

I hope we answered the top 15 questions you had about ladybugs for you.

Most ladybugs are beneficial to the gardener and the farmer. You want them in your gardens.

On the other hand, some of them are very destructive. Once you spot the bad ones, you can control and eradicate them.

Now that you know all about the beneficial ladybug, do you have any in your gardens? Have you seen any praying mantis?

Are you planning on buying some and placing them into your gardens?

Let me know in the comments.

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