Ladybugs are small insects that mostly eat other insects like aphids. Other names for ladybugs are lady beetles or ladybird beetles and their scientific name is coccinellidae. The name means little red sphere. They are in the order of Coleoptera, or beetles. This domestic ladybug does not bite, but there are other species that do bite people.
With over 5,000 different species, ladybugs are adapted to live around the world and are considered a sign of good luck in some cultures. The common ladybug found in America is red with black spots on a round, domed back, but 300 different types make North America their home. Other colors of ladybugs are also found, including pink, yellow, white, black and orange. Growing to only .3 inches, their legs and antennae are short and they can live for two to three years. One ladybug can lay as may as one thousand eggs in their lifetime. The ladybug emits a chemical that prevents predators from eating them, because it smells and tastes so bad. Other animals feed on ladybugs, including birds such as swifts, swallows, crows and martins. Dragonflies will eat ladybugs, as will ants and some wasps. Tree frogs also eat ladybugs.
Ladybugs are considered to be a beneficial insect. This is because they eat other insects that are harmful to crops, such as aphids. Both the adult and the larvae will feed on other insects. One adult ladybug can eat up to fifty aphids each day. Some people raise ladybugs and sell them to gardeners for profit. These can sometimes be found at local nurseries or purchased online. The ones used for the purpose are called hippodamia convergens.
Do ladybugs bite?
Domestic ladybugs do not bite. Their mouths are too small. There is a type of ladybug, called the Asian lady beetle, that does bite, and this type can be found in the United States. The Asian lady beetle originated in Asia, but was introduced to California in 1916 to help farmers of pecan tree orchards control their aphid population. Now this ladybug, and hundreds of others, can be found across North America. The Asian ladybugs are the ones that are found inside homes and can become a pest. They can stain clothes and the DO BITE. Some people are allergic to the bites, which can cause upper respiratory symptoms, itching nose or eyes, and asthma. The Asian ladybug looks like the domestic ladybug, so it is hard to tell them apart. One distinction is that from the top, the section between the body and the head displays what looks like a black letter M on the Asian variety. Mostly, they will not bite, and if they do, they don't usually break the skin, but their back legs are armed with spurs that can tickle, poke or prick.