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Some really cool facts about ladybugs!
Class: Insecta (Insects)
Family: Coccinellidae: These great little garden helpers are widely referred to as ladybugs but in fact these helpful insects are not bugs at all, they are beetles. The term ladybug is considered scientifically to be slang for the correct name Lady Beetle. Other popular names include ladybird and ladybird beetle. Coccinellidae means "little sphere" and their shiny, often brightly colored bodies are dome shaped, oval, or convex.
Species: There are about 5,000 different species of ladybugs in the world! Approximately 400 species of these great little beetles can be found here in North America. There are about 175 of those species in our home state of California. The most common beneficial species in North America is the Convergent Lady Beetle. It gets it's name from a pair of white convergent dashes on the pronotum / prothorax. Other species common to the USA:
2-spotted Lady Beetle 7-spotted Lady Beetle 9-spotted Lady Beetle 11-spotted Lady Beetle
13-spotted Lady Beetle 14-spotted Lady Beetle 15-spotted Lady Beetle
Eye-spotted Lady Beetle Pine Lady Beetle Parenthesis Lady Beetle
Timberlake spotted Lady Beetle Transverse Lady Beetle Twice-stabbed Lady Beetle
You can learn more about ladybug species here.
Body length: 0.08 to 0.4 inches (2 to 10 millimeters), depending on species. You will also find the females are often larger than the males
Life span: Ladybugs generally live about a year, however some species, such as the Asian Lady Beetle, will live 2-3 years if the conditions are right. We have detailed information and pictures about a ladybug's lifecycle here.
Incubation: approximately a week or 5-8 days, ladybugs will merge from their eggs in their larval form.
Age of maturity: 3 to 7 weeks
Number of eggs laid: Depending on the species, a ladybug may only lay just a few eggs to upwards of 2000 in it's lifetime. That's a lot of baby ladybugs!
Range: As you can see from the map ladybugs can be found almost worldwide but especially in temperate climates.
Habitat: Ladybugs can often be found in a variety of foliage such as gardens, trees, shrubs, flowers, forests, weed patches and fields. In some areas ladybugs are found infesting peoples homes as well.
Diet - What do ladybugs Eat? Ladybugs are omnivores and eat a variety of things that make them famous as a source for organic and biological pest control. Learn more about ladybugs and pest control here!
Ladybugs particularly like aphids and may eat upwards of 5,000 in it's lifetime. Also on the menu for these hungry little pest eaters are small insects such as whitefly, mealybugs, scales, mites, bollworm, broccoli worm, tomato hornworm and cabbage moth. They will also eat the eggs of some insects such as moth eggs and certain ladybugs eat pollen and mildew. Rarely but if necessary a ladybug may resort to cannibalism.
Video on what ladybugs eat: Mike Quinn, an entomologist for 20+ years describes what ladybugs typically eat and provides additional insights about their habitat as well ladybug larvae.
The bright colors on many species of ladybugs warn predators that they will not make a good meal. This method of protection works so well that many species that wouldn't make a predator sick, mimic the color patterns of ladybugs that are poisonous.
Ladybugs can also release a bad smelling & tasting orange chemical from their joints to deter predators. This is known as "reflex bleeding" and generally occurs when a ladybug is under stress.
Ladybugs can also play dead! If a predator sometimes my camera gets to close to them, they may choose to fall lifelessly into the bushes below them or fall and dangle in a very still position upside down after being spotted.
Ladybugs don't bite humans the same way a flea or mosquito does but they can pinch with their mandibles. In many species you would not notice or be hurt by it.
Diapause (Ladybug Hibernation):
Diapause is the insect version of hibernation. It is thought that ladybugs engage in this activity to conserve resources and to facilitate reproduction. These cute but sometimes mischievious little critters gather in places such as tree trunks, logs, ground cover, buildings & sometimes in peoples homes when temperatures drop below 55 degrees. Ladybugs require heat aquired from their environment to maintain and regulate their body temperature. Below this temperature you will not see ladybugs active or flying around.
In the southwestern U.S. they gather on the ground and cover it like a blanket of red and black. They live off of their own energy reserves during this period and can survive in diapause for up to nine months. Ladybugs will come out of this state when the temperature reaches 55 degrees farenheit (13 degrees Celcius). This is usually consistent with food sources becoming available again.
Do ladybugs Sleep?
Ladybugs are active during the day and go into a state of rest at night. In this period of rest, they are unresponsive to things going on around them. When an individual ladybug goes into this state seems to vary slightly from ladybug to ladybug. In our backyard for example we have seen ladybugs (Hippodamia Convergens) in the evening completely immobilized in the stems of our cosmos, while a few others were still actively searching for food and crawling around. The "sleeping" ladybugs were unresponsive to our flashlights, or camera flashes whereas at daytime even my shadow falling on them from feet away would cause a disturbance.
The ladybug in the above picture is a sleeping 7-spotted ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata) clinging to a foxtail. The ladybug's head is tucked into the pronotum much like a turtle giving an even more rounded look to this little critter.
Why do ladybugs have spots?
There's a lot of really cool information on ladybugs spots. We thought we would give ladybug spots their own fact page since there are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding their purpose. Check out the ladybug spots page here.
More great facts about ladybugs!
Ladybugs are beetles. Not all beetles are ladybugs.
Like all insects, ladybugs communicate through chemical signals (pheremones), movements, and behavior. ladybugs can learn a great deal of information through their sense of smell.
Not all ladybugs are orange or red. ladybugs can be many diferent colors. Black, pink, yellow, more!
When a ladybug flies, it beats its wings about 5100 times a minute or about 85 beats a second.
Ladybugs chew their food side to side.
A gallon jug would hold anywhere between 72,000 and 80,000 ladybugs, though I don't recommend trying to accomplish this task.
Ladybugs are the official state insect of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Even though in certain areas ladybugs invade peoples homes, they are not a structure damaging pest. They will not chew or bore holes in walls, furniture or carpet.
Ladybugs may hibernate indoors but will not reproduce or lay eggs in homes.
More information on ladybugs!
Ladybug questions and answers
You have questions about ladybugs and we strive to bring you quality answers and more great facts about ladybugs!
Learn about the anatomy of ladybugs. The most well known part of the ladybug is called the elytra which is the outer hard shell-like wings of the ladybug.
Ladybug Life Cycle
Ladybugs sure grow up fast. Like other beetles they have complex little lives. Learn the phases of a ladybug's life cycle here!
Ladybug for Pest Control
Ladybugs are renowned for their abilities to control a number of pests that eat our plants. Learn the facts about ladybugs & pest control here.
Learn how to attract ladybugs to your yard or property the natural way. On this page we have some info how to get these colorful little beauties to start showing up in your garden.