The bright and colorful ladybug is a familiar sight to most. They are popular among young children and older people alike. Farmers especially like them for their huge appetite for aphids, which are crop pests. They lay hundreds of eggs among colonies of aphids and other pests. The ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed once emerged, consuming a whooping 25 aphids a day (and 400 aphids total). Adult ladybugs eat even more aphids-they consume about 50 aphids a day and can eat over 5000 aphids a year! With a lifespan of 1-3 years, that is alot of aphids!
A ladybug larvae
Many think that ladybugs are a word describing one species. However, the term “ladybug” actually encompasses 5,000 different species. They all eat different things, some of them preferring plants.
The ladybug’s coloration isn’t just for looks. Their bright coloring acts as a warning for predators. Predators hate the taste of ladybugs, and if one tries to eat a ladybug, it will remember the distinct coloring and avoid eating one again. The species as a whole, therefore, is more likely to survive. If threatened, ladybugs will play dead and secrete an unappetizing yellowish ooze.
Ladybugs can be different colors, not just red. Can you identify this ladybug?
The ladybug obtained its name when it was supposedly summoned through prayer to the Virgin Mary in Europe during the Middle Ages. Farmers thought that their prayer had caused the ladybugs to appear and save their crop from the pests that were threatening to cause famine. They began to call them “The Beetles of Our Lady”, which was shortened later to “ladybug”. The ladybug is the name used for the insect in the U.S. while ladybird beetle is the name for them in the U.K.