Ladybugs (Ladybird Beetles)

Coccinellidae is a family of beetles, known variously as ladybirds (UK, Ireland, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Malta, some parts of Canada and the US), or ladybugs (North America). Scientists increasingly prefer the names ladybird beetles or lady beetles as these insects are not true bugs.

 

Identification

  • Ladybugs are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches)

  • Most commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers

  • Black legs, head and antennae

  • Some species mostly, or entirely, black, grey, or brown and may be difficult to recognize as ladybugs

  • A common myth is that the number of spots on the insect’s back indicates its age

Environment

  • Ladybugs are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described, more than 450 native to North America alone

  • Generally considered useful insects, as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places

  • The harlequin ladybug was introduced into North America from Asia in 1916 to control aphids, but is now the most common species as it is out-competing many of the native species; tt has since spread to much of western Europe, reaching the UK in 2004

Threats

  • In the U.S., ladybugs usually begin to appear indoors in the fall – leaving their summer feeding sites in fields, forests and yards looking for a place to spend the winter

  • Typically when temperatures warm to the mid-60s Fahrenheit in the late afternoon, following a period of cooler weather, they will swarm onto or into buildings illuminated by the sun

  • Swarms of ladybugs fly to buildings in the fall depending on location and weather conditions

  • Homes or buildings near fields or woods are more prone to infestation

Treatment

  • Primarily an exclusion program sealing openings into the building

  • Large amounts can be treated using an insect light trap indoors to capture the lady bugs in ceiling voids

  • Treatments can be made to void areas before the movement into the building and may help reduce the populations

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