If you are an avid gardener you most likely know that you should always welcome ladybugs into your yard and garden. Why? The Ladybird beetle, better known to us, as a “ladybug” is one of the best beneficial insects we can have in the garden.
Here are some ladybug facts
According to Wikipedia, the ladybird beetle was named the "beetle of Our lady". This name came from the Virgin Mary, who was often painted in early paintings wearing a red cloak. The seven spots on their wings was said to represent the seven joys and seven sorrows. The name translated into "Marybeetle" or ladybeetle. In America, we then changed it to "ladybug".
Ladybugs belong to the family " Coccinellidae". They are about ¼ inch long and come in red,yellow and orange with black spots. They have wings, that actually looks like a shell, that stay folded down until they are ready to fly away.
There are more than 450 different species of ladybugs in the US. Most North American species are beneficial. Ladybugs are beneficial because they feed on aphids. They also feed on small insects,mites, and other insect larvae and eggs. Most ladybugs in gardens are looking for aphids. This is a very good thing for gardeners because aphids can destroy your plants by sucking out all of the nutrients from your them.
Some ladybugs prefer other insects such as mites and scale species, which is also good for your garden. If there is a shortage of aphids they will prey on eggs of beetles, mites, and thrips. Did you know that they even eat nectar and pollen? For all this reasons, ladybugs are considered natural predators in the garden.
Ladybugs spend the winter as adults and can be found together in various places such as, under bark, leaves, rock and anywhere they can get a cozy spot out of the bad weather.
They lay their eggs in the springtime when they get out of their hiding and begin to look for food. Some species of ladybugs actually migrate, but not all species.
Other Ladybugs-There are two species that are not from North America are the Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle. These two species Do feed on plants.
Welcome Your Ladybugs
There are several kinds of plants that you can plant to attract ladybugs.Try planting anything in the daisy family, alyssums and even dill and mints in the herb groups. So don't be alarmed when you see these pretty little ladybugs on your favorite petunias.