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Beneficial Insect – Ladybugs (Lady Beetles)

Lady Bug

Common Name: Ladybugs (Lady Beetles)

Genus: Coccinellidae

Description:

Ladybugs share a characteristic shape – a dome-shaped back and a flat underside. Ladybug elytra display bold colors and markings, usually red, orange, or yellow with black spots. Ladybugs walk on short legs, which tuck away under the body. Their short antennae form a slight club at the end. The ladybug's head is almost hidden beneath a large pronotum. Ladybug mouthparts are modified for chewing.

Diet:

Most ladybugs are predators with ravenous appetites for aphids and other soft-bodied insects. Adult ladybugs will eat several hundred aphids before mating and laying eggs on the infested plants. Ladybug larvae feed on aphids as well.

Life Cycle:

Ladybugs undergo complete metamorphosis in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Depending on the species, female ladybugs may lay up to 1,000 eggs within a few months from spring to early summer. Eggs hatch within four days. Ladybug larvae resemble tiny alligators, with elongated bodies and bumpy skin. Most species go through four larval instars. The larva attaches itself to a leaf, and pupates. Ladybug pupae are usually orange. Within 3 to 12 days, the adult emerges, ready to mate and feed. Most ladybugs overwinter as adults. They form aggregates, or clusters, and take shelter in leaf litter, under bark, or other protected places.

Gardening With Green Lacewings:

Release at dusk, after spraying some plants with water, so they can drink. Release near infestations in small amounts over a two week period. Release Rates: 1,600 ladybugs covers aprox.100 sq. feet. Half pint covers aprox. 3,000 sq. feet. 1 gallon covers aprox. 1 - 5 acres Heavy infestations use 1-2 gallons per acre.