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Ladybugs (also called Ladybird Beetles) are brightly coloured, oval shaped beetles usually having colour combinations of yellow, orange, red and black, usually with spots or mottled patterns.
There are 5000 species of ladybugs worldwide and 400 in North America. Almost all ladybugs are predaceous while a few eat plants. Adults over winter in leaf litter and emerge in spring as the air warms.
Ladybug larvae, also called “dragons,” are small and dark blue or black with bright orange spots or bands on them.
Ladybugs are beneficial to any plants that are affected by aphids. They may consume over 5000 aphids in their lifetime.
Ladybugs play an important role in controlling local pest populations that harm plant species. Both adults and larvae prey on aphids and are important members of the local ecosystem.
Ladybug populations will increase in response to aphid population increases. However, there may be a six week lag period before these predators begin to control the outbreak.
It is important to remember that if pesticides are being considered for control of a local pest population that natural predator populations will also be affected. Therefore local populations of ladybugs should be assessed in order to make an appropriate pest control decision.
Ladybug larva and pupa. Photo by W.P. Armstrong
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