Who doesn’t like ladybugs? I have ladybug earrings with matching pin and pendant, my granddaughter was given a ladybug decorated swimsuit and cover up, and I’ve seen dozens more ladybug items (really cute shoes for a toddler!). We all learn very early that ladybugs are good insects but how much more do we know? For, example which ladybug in the picture on the right is the REAL ladybug? (See below for answer)
1. The official common name for ladybugs is lady beetles.
2. Over 450 species of ladybugs can be found in North America.
3. Ladybugs are not bugs. The term “bug” refers to a group of insects that have mouth parts that form a beak for sucking. Ladybugs have mouth parts for chewing.
4. In the past, ladybugs were dedicated to the Virgin Mary and were thought to have supernatural powers.
5. Not all ladybugs are red with black spots. Depending on the species, they may be striped or all one dark color.
6. Larvae are alligator-like in appearance.
7. Although ladybugs eat garden pests such as aphids, spider mites, mealy bugs, and scale they also eat pollen and nectar and can be cannibalistic if food is in short supply.
8. Adults may live up to a year and may lay up over 1,000 eggs. They hibernate in the winter, sometimes in people’s homes.
9. Ladybugs leak their body fluids when attacked. The fluid is bitter and posinous and predators quickly learn to avoid them.
10. Field collected convergent ladybugs are available for biological control of insect pests but have not proven successful due to the fact that the ladybugs disperse quickly. They key to keeping lots of ladybugs around is to have a large population of aphids or other ladybug food, not really a desirable option.
Answer: They all are ladybugs.