Some things you did not know about the insects we call friends! – Lady Bugs
It is ironic that some insects are viewed as cute and almost cuddly, like lady bug. Meanwhile other harmless beetle species, like ground beetles, most people would never consider handling. Why is this? Did the lady bug (actually it’s proper name is Asian lady bird beetle) just have a better publicist? Well the answer is.. yes, maybe! Made popular over the years on everything from toys to lunch boxes lady bugs are embraced by pop culture and even associated with children.
However, this pest has a dark side. In it’s juvenile form it is a voracious killer. Looking nothing like the adult they become, the larval stage is more akin to an insect portrayed in a horror film than the cute spotted adult we are used to from our youth! As a juvenile they will devour approximately 400 aphids which are sweet (literally) insects that feed upon plants. They will pupate, much like a butterfly, into their more easily recognized adult form. As adults, lady bugs may consume approximately 5000 aphids over their lifetime!
Actually, this voracious appetite is beneficial as it helps to keep aphids, which are a plant parasite, in check. Many homeowners will purposely purchase adults by the thousands in order to release them into their gardens as a natural form of pest control. Next time you see that cute child’s toy that is adorned with spots, remember that this is a highly efficient killer. Think this is ironic? Don’t even get me started on what firefly juveniles eat! It is amazing what a good publicist can do for you…