Ladybird<<<< Back to insects
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Coleoptera
- Suborder: Polyphaga
- Superfamily: Cucujoidea
- Family: Coccinellidae
- Conservation status: Least concern
- Length: 0.8 - 18 mm
- Lifespan: 1 - 2 years
- Reproduction: Eggs
Yes, my dears, the ladybird is not just some insect. It is a delicate, passionate, giddy, an insatiable and just when it gets tired and clasps its wings on a leaf, is resigned. It is restless. It has to fly, learn, bathe in the sun and tan its black dots in the shininess of raindrops. Have you ever seen a happy ladybird? It is noisy. It waves tirelessly its tough wings that hide another pair of transparent wings, like a pair of lace gloves worn by a queen. Happy, will fly higher and higher, feeling her wings lighter and lighter and forgetting about the time.
Have you ever seen a sad ladybug? It's better to not be seen. It still knows how to fly, but won't soar. Cumbersome, moving its wings, moving erratically, closer to the ground. Dislikes the heights, that make it dizzy. Hides in the shadow of the leaves and won't make any sound. Have you ever seen a ladybug in love? Bathes every morning in the morning dew drops, then powders its legs in pollen, then polishes its wings with velvety sunflower petals and, before take off, perfumes itself with the roses fragrance. It is assorted, perfumed and .... in love. A happy ladybug will indicate the direction where you'll find luck, a sad ladybug will lead you to untold truths, and an in love ladybug will leave you, because it cares only for its love and so will encourage you to go looking for your own love, without asking for directions or traffic rules.
In the UK , this little colorful insect is known as the ladybird and in the US is known as the ladybug. Although bugs are not among our favorite insects, ladybugs are the exception, and are regarded fondly. They fascinate the chidren, and gardners and farmers will welcome them with open arms.
In general, ladybirds love to eat aphids, or plant-lice, some tiny insects with a soft body, that devour crops in gardens or fields. Some adult ladybugs can consume in their lifetime thousands of aphids, even their larvae have great appetite. Ladybugs feed also on other pest insects. A ladybug consumes 250-300 plant-lice daily. When they feed, ladybugs move their mouth from side to side, not up and down like humans.
The little ladybirds are either round or oval, their bodies have a semispherical shape. Although they have an insatiable appetite, most do no exceed 12 mm in length. The delicate wings which they use for flying are covered in sheaths, shiny hard wings, with colored designs, that help us recognize them. When the insect wants to fly, the sheats will open up, so she can flap. Although ladybirds are known as being red with black spots, the approximately 5000 species differentiate through a variety of color combinations. Some are orange or yellow with black spots. There are ladybugs with no spots and some have stripes or squares such as those on the chessboard.
The life cycle of many species doesn't last more than a year. In winter, the adult specimens hibernate in dry places, hidden. When it gets warmer, they wake up and begin to fly in search of plants full of aphids. After mating, the female lays on the underside of a leaf, near a good aphid spot, a bunch of yellow eggs. From each egg comes out a six-legged larva that resembles more like a small fierce alligator. Since they constantly eat aphids, the larva grows so much that it no longer fits into the skin, and after it sheds several times, it will attach to a plant and produce the shell stern. Inside the stern, the larva continues to grow, until finally exiting as an adult. At first the body is soft, colorless and therefore will remain on the plant until it hardens. The characteristical spots occur in a single day.
The enemies don't want to have anything to do with the colored ladybug. When it feels threatened, the ladybird spurts from its joints a yellow liquid, smelly and with an awfull taste. Predators, such as birds and spiders, never forget their first meeting with a ladybird. Its vivid colors always remind them of the unpleasant meeting.
How can you attract ladybugs in your garden? Plants with flowers are an inviting source of pollen and nectar. A patch of land full of weeds, and a water dish can be a temptation for them. If possible, do not use pesticides. Some dead leaves left on plants or on the ground in winter can offer pleasant places for hibernation. Don't squish any bug ore egg you find in the garden. The female ladybird lays up to 100 eggs throughout her lifetime.
Did you know that:
The ladybird is a gardener's best friend. She defends the plants in the garden eating caterpillars and worms.
A ladybird consumes daily 250-300 plant-lice.
The red color is predominant, but in some cases this may be entirely black.
The adult ladybugs can reach a length of 0.7 to 1.2 cm.