Ladybugs, also known by their scientific name of Coccinellidae, are a member of the family of beetles. They are also known as ladybirds in (British English, Australian English, and South African English speaking countries), and ladybugs is the preferred term in North America. Some scientist refer to them as lady beetles.
Ladybugs (Coccinellids) are found worldwide, in almost any type of climate, and in wetlands. However, they won’t fly if the temperature is below 55 degrees fahrenheit. There are over 5,000 species described, with more than 450 species that are native to North America alone. They are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are usually yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wings, with six black legs, their head and antennae are also usually black.
In the spring, the female ladybug lays her tiny, pale yellow eggs in clusters of ten to 50 on the underside of plant leaves, near colonies of aphids. Three to five days later the larvae hatch. They look much like miniature alligators, usually gray or black, with bright spots.
After hatching, the larva immediately start killing and eating aphids. A single ladybug consumes about 5,000 aphids in his or her lifetime: 400 aphids are consumed, just in the larva stage. Two to three weeks later, the larva pupates on a leaf, and transforms to an adult. Then as an adult, consumes another 4600 aphids in their lifetime.
During the summer, ladybugs live in shrubs, branches, and flowers, in fields, gardens, and on plants . During autumn , they form a colony called coleptera. Then, they find and crawl to protective hiding places, such as tree stumps, cracks in wood, or in ground cover types of vegetation. This then becomes a place to hibernate–at the base of a tree, along a fence row, under a fallen tree, or even under a rock. They crawl under leaves to protect themselves from the winter cold. The fascinating thing is, they can hibernate in groups of 50 to 100 million, to produce and conserve warmth. Most ladybugs only live for several months, but some can survive longer.
Generally, ladybugs are considered useful insects, as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places. There fore, they have been termed as a ” gardeners best friend”. Some people consider seeing them or having them land on their body, to be a sign of “good luck”.