Other common names: Ladybird; Lady Bird; Lady Bug; Lady Beetle
Scientific name: Coccinellidae sp.
The Coccinellidae family of beetles are commonly known by the name "Ladybugs" or "Ladybirds". There are more than 6,000 species of Ladybugs, and they are found worldwide. Depending on the subfamily, Ladybugs feed on plants, mildews, and insects like mites, whiteflies, scale and aphids.
Appearance / health:
These beetles are very small. Depending on the species, they range in size from 1mm to 10mm, with the average being between 4mm to 8mm. Coccinellidae sp. have oval shaped dome bodies that can be a huge variety of colors and patterns. The Ladybug which is most commonly publicized in Europe and North America is red or orange, with black spots. Coccinellidae sp. have 6 legs, and are insects.
Behavior / temperament:
Lady Bugs are very docile and non-aggressive. When threatened they play dead and will not move until the threat has went away. Some Lady Bugs secrete an unpleasant smelling and tasting liquid that will also discourage predators from eating it. This usually doesn't have any effect on humans.
A few adults can live comfortably in a large jar or large critter keeper. 2-5 gallon tanks may also be used to house multiple Lady Bugs. Baby and young can be kept in deli cups with small air holes.
Lady Bugs only come out when the weather begins to warm up. They should be kept between 70-80F with humidity levels around 50-60%. Substrate can be potting soil, peat, or dirt from outside (if pesticide free) kept 1-2 inches deep. Tank décor to add would be leaf litter, branches, twigs, fake or live plants, etc. Misting the tank once or twice a week will keep the Lady Bugs hydrated.
Lady Bugs primarily feed on aphids. They also may feed on nectar, pollen, sugar-water mixtures, mites and other small pests.
If food and temperatures are constant and abundant Lady Bugs will breed easily by themselves. Females lay a very large number of eggs, with some species laying up to 1000. They will incubate for 1-3 days depending on temperatures then they will hatch and begin feeding, eventually going into pupal stage.
perfect middle school, Aphid Control, magnificent beauties, curious youngster, classroom, young child
Short term, certain leaves
garden supply store, sugar water, rearing kits
Give Them Winter Shelter, Don't Keep as Pets
I remember growing up in Rhode Island where every fall, thousands of ladybugs would come and huddle into the corners of our ceilings. It would be exciting, at first, until they all died and turned to dust. I would grow sad for them every year, wondering why. It took until I was seven before I realized that we kept our house too cold for them to survive the winter. Typically, they huddle up in small crevices in trees, where they were protected from the elements. Our home was breezy, windows always open because the cats liked it. This brings me to my first point about raising them. Spring and Summer is fine, but when fall and winter come, you HAVE to keep them sheltered from any breeze. A lot of times when you find a ladybug huddle in a tree in the colder months, the outter layer of them have died from the draft of the opening. Once I realized why all these lady bugs were dying, I started bringing these huddles to my room, closing the door and windows. It wasn’t warm, but there was no draft. They would survive the winter in this, able to deal with low temperatures by shutting down the less important aspects of their body, but drafts were lethal. After a few years of providing winter solace for them, I began collecting a few to just care for in general. Once you figure out what kind of ladybug you have, it is easy. Some eat plants, others eat the aphids that eat the plants. I would release the non plant eaters in my mother’s garden, but the plant eaters stayed with me. They weren’t picky what kind of plants, either. We had a nice relationship. They would go about their buisness in the section of room I started planting stuff for them. They very rarely wandered out of the mini garden. In exchange for the shelter, I was given something fascinating to watch as a relief for my anxiety. All in all, ladybugs are easy to care for, but won’t entertain someone who doesn’t need a therapeutic calmness. I would recommend putting up ladybug winter homes, small shelters to let them gather in that no breeze can get to, but I don’t recommend doing what I did and capturing them for life, as they are better off in their wild setting than as pets..
From BhuvanaMcGoats Jun 11 2015 9:07AM
Lady bugs, aka ladybirds
In my experience, lady bugs are not ladies- at least in the sense that they do not exhibit restraint in their relentless pursuit of the aphids in my garden and orchard. My lady bugs are by no stretch of the imagination pets, but in return for their efforts in controlling the aphids, I make sure there are no poisons in any shape or form used on my property. In addition, I usually withold permission for the large land owners in the area to spray insecticides with aircraft. These guys are required by law to obtain written permission from adjacent land owners to use aircraft, so if I refuse them permission, the chances of my extensive collection of biological control agents getting killed off are pretty remote.
Nonetheless, my lady bugs perform the same role my praying mantisses do; only they eat aphids instead of fruit flies. When I bought my property thirty years ago, beneficial insects were extremely rare, and the sight of a lady bug or praying mantis was cause for celebration. What there were plenty off though, were fruitflies, aphids, and ants. Off course there still are, but by slow degrees, the ladybugs that were bred by the same entomologist who bred my mantisses, worked their way through the billions of aphids that once came close to killing my trees. The practise of the day then was to drench everything in several hundred gallons of insecticide, and although it took several years for my ladybugs to overcome the residual effects of the systemic poisons, they prevailed, and today, I have to use a looking glass to find aphids on my trees.
I cannot imagine my life without my insects; they keep my plants healthy, and if truth be told, they are good for the soul too. Ladybugs in particular, are always portrayed as happy, smiling insects in children's stories and books, and I must admit, they still have the same air of benevolence about them for me. They may not exactly be ladies, but I am certain they still smile widely whenever they come across a herd of aphids in a pear tree..
From reinier1 May 8 2015 5:47AM
From ermon99 Aug 22 2012 10:41PM