If you happen to see a ladybug in your yard or home, chances are you didn’t think too much of it. Ladybugs’ good luck reputation may even make you excited to see the red and black bugs in your home. If you are curious about these insects, here are some fascinating ladybug facts to help you understand these creatures.
Interesting Facts About Ladybugs
Even though the name is misleading, ladybugs are actually beetles. Like their fellow beetles, they belong to the Coleoptera family. The insects are generally thought of as being red and black, but this is not always the case. Ladybugs are two contrasting colors and can be found in almost any color combination. Ladybugs can be yellow and black, some can be orange or dark blue and the others are black and white.
Ladybugs are also named for the Virgin Mary, who is commonly referred to as Our Lady. During medieval times, farmers prayed for their crops not to be ruined by pests or plague. Ladybugs were a godsend that ate the crop-devouring insects, as such they are sometimes referred to as lady beetles.
Ladybugs also have defense mechanisms when they feel threatened or attacked. One tactic is to release a yellow-tinged chemical that falls from the leg area called hemolymph. Larvae can also release the chemical from their abdomens as a form of protection. Ladybugs also change their color through a process called aposematic coloration to send a message to predators that they are dangerous to consume. Research in recent years has come to show that there is a correlation between a ladybug’s coloring and toxin levels; the brighter the color, the stronger the toxins.
These insects have a lifespan of about one year. Once ladybug eggs are laid, they are larvae for up to 10 days and feed for about three weeks. After this period, they turn into a pupa, and after about a week’s time, they turn into adults.
What Do Ladybugs Eat?
Ladybugs can benefit your garden, since they eat many of the insects that can ruin your plants, such as aphids. Most soft-bodied insects are food for ladybugs, including mites and whiteflies, which is why farmers welcome ladybugs into their gardens.
Some varieties of ladybugs, like the harlequin, feed on ripe grapes and are a nuisance at wineries and vineyards. The hemolymph that ladybugs give off can be tasted in the wine once the grapes pressed.
What Do Ladybugs Drink?
Ladybugs drink water, but they also feed on plant nectar, which means they enjoy sweet drinks as well. So, if ladybugs are visiting your picnic or outdoor party while you’re serving fruit juice or mimosas, you’ll know why.
Where Do Ladybugs Live?
Plants and wooded areas where aphids live or frequent are often the habitats of ladybugs. Ladybugs can also live in gardens since they’ll find other insects that they can eat there. During the winter, ladybugs hibernate, so you may find them in piles of leaves and under rocks during the colder months as well as in your home.
Why Are Ladybugs In My Home?
Come September in NJ ladybugs are looking for a place to hibernate. They are attracted to light colored homes and the heat they reflect. The word is that they love older homes. During their hibernating period when they are entering your home they use pheromones (a perfume scent) as a means of communicating. These insect pheromones are super powerful. Other ladybugs can detect this up to 1/4 mile away. They find each other and all come to hang out in your home during the winter. The pheromones do not go away easily, in fact, the scent can remain for years both outside and within the walls of your home attracting these little creatures to come back into your home and hang out year after year.
If ladybugs are becoming a problem in your garden or home, it is essential to get rid of them ASAP! Contact the expert pest control company, NJ Pest for more information. You can reach us by phone or through our contact form here.