Phascination – Ladybugs

Never hurt a ladybug
We need them in the garden
Ladybugs help flowers grow
So we must give them pardon!
~Author Unknown

ladybug-collage

I love ladybugs. I’ve loved bugs, and been fascinated by them, since I was a baby—this is according to my mother. How could anyone not love a tiny ladybug? On top of being one of the most attractive and whimsical beetles in all the insect world, they are amazing garden predators. I photographed the ladybugs in the collage during a very warm, Autumn afternoon.

The spotted red ‘ladybug’ we all know so well (more correctly called the ‘lady beetle’ or ‘ladybird beetle’, as these insects are true beetles and not bugs) does dine on the occasional aphid and other soft-bodied pest, but like many insects, it doesn’t really eat all that much in its adult form. It’s the ladybug’s larvae that are voracious predators of soft-bodied problem insects, especially aphids. Gardeners plagued by those sap-sucking perfidious pests (i.e. rose growers) should become acquainted with the appearance of this beneficial ladybug baby; otherwise, they might try to kill the spiny, scary-looking, alligator/dragon-like things!

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I came upon a bit of garden chaos last week; swarms of ladybugs flying around one corner of my house. Aha! A wintry mystery solved. Every year we have a few ladybugs take up residence inside our house. These rooms get the most afternoon sunshine and the outer walls of the house become toasty. I realize now the ladybugs I find inside are only a few stragglers from the multitude using our outer siding for their winter hibernation. The downspout is their road to a refuge from the cold.

Will I plug up the crack/hole in the siding where they enter? Not right now. I like to think of a swarm of ladybugs re-emerging in the Spring ready to lay the eggs of their voracious larva.

I’ve already found a couple of stragglers in the house.

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Does this upset me?

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No indeed! I am happy to see them. I give them a ride on the edge of a piece of paper and place them on a hospitable houseplant.

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Take a look at this great article about indoor ladybugs: Ladybuglady.com