Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Characteristics of Lady Bugs

A number of superstitions are attached to the ladybug. Northern Germans believed they could forecast how well their harvest by counting the spots on the backs of ladybugs. More than seven spots on the wing cover of a ladybug was considered a sign of famine. English farmers believed that ladybugs meant their harvest would do well, whereas the ancient Norse associated ladybugs with love and beauty. Some farmers release ladybugs in their garden in hopes they will eat scale insects and aphids.

Beetles

Ladybugs are actually beetles that possess two hard shells that are wing cases called elytra. The shells are typically red featuring black spots. Their hind wings are transparent and are used to propel the bugs. The ladybug can fly but is much better on the ground and is considered a ground bug. It can only fly 15 miles per hour, although it can fly a long distance if it has to. The ladybug can fly up to 100 miles to find a sheltered place to spend the winter or to find food.

  • A number of superstitions are attached to the ladybug.
  • The ladybug can fly up to 100 miles to find a sheltered place to spend the winter or to find food.

Legs

The ladybug climbs and walks using six legs and uses the legs to groom itself. A claw on the end of each leg allows the bug to grip stems and leaves. The ladybug uses its two antennae for touching and smelling.

Types

Types of ladybugs that you will find in North America include the nine-spotted ladybug; the two-spotted ladybug; the spotless ladybug; the convergent ladybug and the ashy gray ladybug, which is not red.

Function

Ladybugs eat aphids and other insects, including scale insects, which farmers appreciate. Aphids wreak havoc on wheat and roses, and scale insects attack orchard trees. The ladybug prevents these insects from doing damage. An adult convergent lady beetle can eat up to 75 aphids a day and a small male can eat 40. Ladybugs have strong jaw bones which helps them eat these insects.

  • The ladybug climbs and walks using six legs and uses the legs to groom itself.
  • The ladybug uses its two antennae for touching and smelling.

Defenses

Ladybugs do not taste good, which protects them from being killed by birds and other predators. The female bugs produce a nasty odor that comes from the fluid in their leg joints, which also protects them from predators that find the smell offensive. If you disturb a ladybug, it may fool you by rolling over and pretending to be dead. Ladybug predators don’t eat dead insects, so this is a ploy to keep them safe.

Cold Weather

When it gets cold outside, the ladybugs look for shelter and turn up in your house, where they rest quietly. This resting time is called diapause. You may find lots of ladybugs huddled together during this period of time. In the spring, the ladybugs start looking for food and laying eggs.

  • Ladybugs do not taste good, which protects them from being killed by birds and other predators.
  • Ladybug predators don’t eat dead insects, so this is a ploy to keep them safe.

Related Articles

Backswimmer Life Cycle
Backswimmer Life Cycle
How to Identify Cocoons on Trees
How to Identify Cocoons on Trees
How Do Grasshoppers Communicate?
How Do Grasshoppers Communicate?
What Kind of Wasps Are in Missouri?
What Kind of Wasps Are in Missouri?
How to Kill Trapdoor Spiders
How to Kill Trapdoor Spiders
Where Do Wasps Migrate to in the Winter?
Where Do Wasps Migrate to in the Winter?
Reproductive System of Lady Bugs
Reproductive System of Lady Bugs
What Type of Spider Has a Zig Zag Web?
What Type of Spider Has a Zig Zag Web?
Insect Cocoons That Are Found Underground
Insect Cocoons That Are Found Underground
Insects That Attack Blueberry Plants
Insects That Attack Blueberry Plants
How to Keep Grasshoppers Off Plants
How to Keep Grasshoppers Off Plants
Do Aphids Bite?
Do Aphids Bite?
Stages of Incomplete Metamorphosis
Stages of Incomplete Metamorphosis
How to Get a Spider Web Off an Insect
How to Get a Spider Web Off an Insect
How to Kill Blow Flies
How to Kill Blow Flies
What Causes Spiders to Appear in a House?
What Causes Spiders to Appear in a House?
What Does it Mean If Dead Flies Are Stuck to Plants in Your Garden?
What Does it Mean If Dead Flies Are Stuck to Plants...
Garden Guides
×