Ladybugs are attracted to shrubs, trees, fields and gardens nearby homes that feature shrubbery or trees with fruiting bodies that attract ladybirds. Once there, they lay their eggs near aphids which serve as their food source.
Ladybug spots serve a practical purpose; they alert potential predators that the beetle tastes bad and encourage them to avoid eating it. Other defensive strategies for ladybugs include playing dead or secreting foul-smelling fluid from its joints in order to evade being consumed alive by predators.
Garden & Yard
Ladybugs inhabit many different environments. They are commonly found in gardens, grasslands, wooded areas, suburban neighborhoods and near flowing waterways. Ladybugs forage for food during breeding season before laying their eggs under leaves to hatch into larvae that feed on plant leaves while munching away at pests such as aphids.
Ladybugs tend to stick close to home during the summer season in gardens and yards where they can feed on aphids easily, plus other insects that feed off them such as fungus, mildew, scale insects and insect eggs. If you want more ladybugs in your garden, planting pollen and nectar sources might do just the trick.
Fall is when adult ladybugs seek shelter to spend the winter, often clustered by thousands. Their special metabolic slow down allows them to do this; known as diapause. This state allows them to survive the harsh temperatures that accompany winter in their regions.
At this stage, ladybugs will mate and reproduce. When food sources are plentiful nearby, females may lay multiple batches of eggs at one time. Depending on climate, species and food availability, ladybugs can produce five or six generations in one year.
As soon as spring temperatures warm up, newly mated ladybugs begin foraging for food and can often be seen devouring up to 50 aphids per day!
The Bothrocalvia pupillata ladybug, with its red body covered with ten black spots, is perhaps best-known. Native to much of North America, two-spotted Adalia bipunctata was introduced into North America to control aphid populations; today it’s common across multiple states.
Both types of ladybugs may be mistaken for one similar beetle – the convergent lady beetle. Introduced by governments to control agricultural pests, it has since naturalized in both natural and urban environments throughout the US and can now be found throughout its territory. Also referred to as the harmonia beetle.
Forest & Grassland
Ladybugs are ubiquitous insects that can be found across a range of natural environments including forests and grasslands, fields and meadows, urban parks and gardens, suburban homes, as well as suburban backyards. Ladybugs are especially drawn to areas with abundant aphid colonies as their food source – they often lay eggs near an aphid colony. As temperatures cool off further these insects seek shelter within logs, stones, objects or houses where they can conserve energy while overwintering as well as providing them with safe places from predators.
Female ladybugs begin laying yellow and orange-spotted football-shaped eggs when temperatures warm back up again, typically near colonies of aphids. When these eggs hatch, their larvae consume both aphids and any other plant-feeding insects as they develop; otherwise they feed upon themselves or any suitable prey available to them.
Adult ladybugs will continue eating aphids and other plant-eating pests until temperatures begin to decline, at which time these insectivorous predators migrate to warmer climates for overwintering – such as logs, buildings, landscape timbers or even within your house – where they seek shelter and protection during this season’s fall thaw. Large groups may form in order to stay warm together during cold winter nights.
Some species of ladybugs, like the seven-spotted ladybug, can actually be beneficial. Introduced to the United States in 1973 and quickly spreading due to its effectiveness at controlling aphids, the seven-spotted ladybug has since become official state insects of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Tennessee as well as Delaware itself. Other introduced species may become harmful if they outcompete native species and overrun agricultural crops; it’s best to contact a Bulwark professional if there’s concern regarding an invasion in your garden or home if this may be happening – please reach out today so we can assist.
Suburbs & Cities
Ladybugs are beneficial insects because they feed on soft-bodied pests like aphids that threaten gardens and crops, such as their two pairs of wings that provide protection from predators, along with their bright coloration that serves as a warning signal to predators. When threatened, ladybugs release an unpleasant smelling fluid which serves as a deterrent while some even appear dead when threatened – all qualities which make ladybugs considered beneficial insects.
Lady bugs become active during spring and summer when temperatures are warm, flitting among flowers or darting from plant to plant searching for sustenance. When laid on underside of leaves near an abundance of aphid colonies, their eggs hatch into larvae that feed on both aphids as well as other plant-based sources; eventually the larvae shed their skin multiple times until finally becoming adults ready for mating.
As temperatures cool off, aphids begin to die off while ladybugs move on to find new habitat. When they do move forward, however, thousands of them may assemble along pheromone trails left by past gatherings to form large clusters in mountains called diapause – this state can last anywhere from several months up to several years in some instances!
Once temperatures warm up again, ladybugs emerge to explore shrubbery and gardens in developed areas. While they may sometimes be found hiding out in secluded spots such as cracks in rocks and tree trunks or crevices in rotting logs, ladybugs also overwinter indoors in homes and other buildings – the Asian seven-spotted lady beetle being most frequently seen due to its effectiveness at controlling aphid populations. It was first introduced into America in 1973.
Though it may be tempting to unleash ladybugs upon your yard in search of aphid-eating insects, allowing nature take its course is the better solution. Ladybugs have evolved in response to natural environments and will naturally control aphid populations without resorting to chemical treatments or interventions. If aphid numbers in your garden or yard become problematic, we advise opting for natural and organic solutions like granular insecticide such as pyrethrins or neem oil; alternatively planting chrysanthemum plants which produce compounds that act as natural repellents against aphids is another effective natural repellent against these pests.
As winter draws nearer, ladybugs sense it is time for hibernation. To escape the cold air they begin migrating indoors into homes and buildings to seek refuge – you might see them flitting past windows or lurking around corners until they find a safe hiding spot which they will remain until their hibernation period – which typically lasts several weeks at least – is over.
Animals seek shelter in dark, damp places that provide protection from predators and weather elements – walls, tree bark, logs or structures such as garages – they may even prefer huddling together to stay warm while providing extra defense from predation.
Ladybugs use pheromones to communicate during their diapause period, which resembles hibernation but differs somewhat in that it doesn’t lower their body temperature like hibernating mammals do. While ladybugs enter an inactive state during diapause, unlike hibernating mammals they do not lower their temperature as drastically.
At this stage, they still feed on plants and nectar until spring comes and they resume normal activity. You might notice them with pale bodies and soft shells during this transition period as their body temperatures fluctuate quickly after coming out of hibernation and they could experience mild suffocation as they come back out to feed on plant material and nectar sources.
As soon as warm weather returns, ladybugs emerge and start their return migration back into their natural environments, ready to reproduce and start all over again the following year. Since ladybugs don’t harm humans or pets, it’s usually best to let them be. However, if their location doesn’t meet all their criteria then consider purchasing a Ladybug House as this may help deter further invasion!