|Pictured are two Ladybug larva taken April 26, 2012 at the
Univ. of Md Extension “Grow It Eat It”
Public Demonstration Garden”in Westminster, MD.
Just a few of the many interesting factoids regarding one of our most beneficial insects – Lady Bugs (Coccinellidae)
A. Ladybugs feed on aphids and other soft bodied insects that feed on plants. The ladybug feeds on these pests as the adult ladybug and as the larva. One ladybug can eat as many as 50 aphids a day. Now, that’s a hungry lady!
2. How did the ladybug get its name?
A. In Europe, during the Middle Ages, insects were destroying the crops, so the Catholic farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help. Soon the Ladybugs came, ate the plant-destroying pests and saved the crops! The farmers began calling the ladybugs “The Beetles of Our Lady”, and they eventually became known as “Lady Beetles”! The red wings represented the Virgin’s cloak and the black spots represented her joys and sorrows. They didn’t differentiate between males and females.
3. Are all ladybugs girls?
A. No. There are boy ladybugs and girl ladybugs. It’s almost impossible for the average person to tell them apart. But here are some clue that might help. First, females are usually larger than males. Second, if you observe one ladybug riding atop another ladybug, they are in the process of mating. A male ladybug will grab the female’s elytra (hard wings) and holds on tight. An entomologist (bug scientist) can see the difference between males and females under a microscope.
4. What are boy ladybugs called?
A. Boy ladybugs are called ladybugs, too.
5. What are ladybug babies called?
A. Ladybug babies are the larva. They look like little black and orange alligators with small spikes.
6. Can I keep a ladybug as a temporary pet?
7. Do the spots tell you how old they are?
A. No. Different ladybugs have different numbers of spots. Some have no spots while some have as many as twenty four. Ladybugs generally complete their life cycle within one year. The spots are with them all their life. They don’t get more spots as they get older, nor do they lose spots.