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Lady bird beetles (lady bugs, lady beetles)

Characteristics:

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  • Eggs: In early spring, adult females lay clusters of orange coloured, oval-shaped eggs where aphid colonies are found.
  • Larvae: Larvae are small black or greyish grubs with indistinct orange spots on the back. They may be several millimetres long and prefer to live near aphid colonies. They larvae devour aphids over several weeks before pupating to emerge as adults.
  • Adults: Adults are about 6 millimetres long, have a round body and black head. Their wings are bright red, yellow, or orange with small black spots. Females may either lay eggs in the fall and die, or overwinter in sheltered areas to emerge in the spring to lay eggs and die.

Encouraging Ladybird beetle populations:

  • Preferred food sources: Over its lifetime, a ladybird beetle will eat at least 2,400 aphids. If aphids are not available, larvae will eat honeydew, young plant bugs and small caterpillars. Adults will eat scales, mealy bugs, and spider mites if aphids are not available.
  • Most residents experience aphid problems and don't even know it. A sure sign of aphids is the gooey sap you find on your car when it's parked under a tree. That's aphid honeydew, and it can attract wasps and ants. 
  • Trees can get stressed from aphid populations. It's a win-win when ladybugs eat the aphids because our trees will be less stressed. 

IPM Toolkit:

Ladybird beetles are one of the most important ‘biological tools’ you have in your IPM toolkit. Avoid accidentally killing these beneficial insects through the use of chemical insecticides.