What Eats Ladybugs

Curious about what eats ladybugs? Whether you call them ladybugs, ladybirds (as in the United Kingdom) or the scientifically correct lady beetle, these insects are famous for eating aphids and other garden pests. So, what eats ladybugs? The answer might surprise you.

What Eats Ladybugs For Dinner?
There have been almost 500 species of ladybug identified in North America, and for the most part these distinctive insects are considered beneficial as they dine on garden pests. But what eats ladybugs? 

  • Protective nastiness. Ladybugs have developed a unique defense against predators-they exude a foul tasting liquid that most birds and mammals find repulsive. Although a bird might eat one ladybug, they usually don't go back for seconds.
  • And when that doesn't work… Many species of ladybug can quite convincingly play dead. These ladybugs have special depressions in their bodies that allow them to retract their legs and antennae. When attacked, the ladybug will drop from the leaf it is attached to, pull in its legs and antennae and wait for the danger to pass.
  • Protecting the flock. Some species of ant "breed" aphids to collect the sweet fluid (called honeydew) that the insects produce. These ants will defend their aphids against ladybug attacks, as aphids are the natural prey of ladybugs.
  • Insects and arachnids. Some predatory insects, such as the assassin bug (from the family Reduviidae) and stinkbugs find ladybugs a tasty treat. Spiders also frequently have ladybugs on their dinner menu.
  • Mr. Toad's wild diet. Toads are not put off by the taste of ladybugs and are frequent predators of these insects.
  • Red means stop. The unique coloring of the ladybug is thought to be a deterrent to potential predators. Any animal that has sampled the distinctively vile taste of ladybugs will identify the red or orange coloration and steer clear whenever they spot these insects.
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There are over 5,000 different types of ladybugs in the world with almost 500 of them found in North America. Some types of ladybugs are more common than others, however, and some of the most common have been imported from other countries.

Myths about ladybugs can be found through the world. These beneficial garden insects eat harmful pests that can damage plants and produce, giving rise to stories of their mythical powers.

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