10 interesting facts about ladybugs

author:Crayon Xiaobin Z
10 interesting facts about ladybugs

Who doesn't love ladybugs? Also known as ladybugs or ladybugs, small red worms are very popular because they are beneficial predators, happily nibbling on garden pests such as aphids. But ladybugs are not real bugs at all. They belong to the order Coleoptera and include all beetles. For more than 500 years, Europeans have called these dome beetles ladybugs or ladybug beetles. In the United States, the name "ladybug" is preferred; To be accurate, scientists usually use the generic name Lady Beetle.

1. Not all ladybugs are black and red

While ladybugs (called Coccinellidae) are usually red or yellow black dots, rainbows of almost every color are found in some species of ladybugs, often contrasting pairs. The most common are red and black or yellow and black, but some are as plain as black and white, and some are exotic like dark blue and orange. Some species of ladybugs are found, some have stripes, and some have checked patterns. There are 5,000 different species of ladybugs,1 of which 450 live in North America. 2

The color pattern is related to their living area: generalists who live almost everywhere have fairly simple patterns, and they wear two very different colors throughout the year. Other species living in specific habitats have more complex colors, and some can change color throughout the year. Professional ladybugs use camouflage colors to match vegetation during hibernation and develop characteristic bright colors to warn predators during mating season.

2. The name "Lady" refers to the Virgin Mary

According to legend, medieval European crops were plagued by pests. The peasants began to pray to the Virgin, the Virgin Mary. Soon, farmers began to see beneficial ladybugs in their fields, and crops miraculously rescued from pests. Farmers began calling red and black beetles "Virgin Birds" or ladybugs. In Germany, the name of these insects is Marienkafer, which means "Mary beetle". The seven-spotted ladybird is believed to be the first ladybird named after the Virgin Mary; Red is said to represent her cloak and black to represent her seven sorrows.

3. Ladybug defenses include knee bleeding and warning color

Frightening an adult ladybug, foul-smelling hemolymph seeps out of its leg joints, leaving yellow stains on the underlying surface. Potential predators may be intimidated by the foul-smelling mixture of alkaloids and equally repelled by seemingly morbid beetles. Ladybird larvae can also ooze alkaloids from the abdomen.

Like many other insects, ladybirds use aposemactic color to signal toxicity to potential predators. Insect-eating birds and other animals learn to avoid red and black foods and are more likely to avoid ladybug lunches.

4. Ladybugs live about one year

10 interesting facts about ladybugs

The life cycle of ladybugs begins with a batch of bright yellow eggs laid on branches near the food source. They hatch as larvae within 4 to 10 days and then spend about three weeks feeding – those that arrive first may eat some eggs that have not yet hatched. Once they are full, they start pupae, and after 7 to 10 days they will be adults. These insects usually live for about a year.

5. Ladybug larvae resemble small crocodiles

10 interesting facts about ladybugs

If you're not familiar with ladybug larvae, you'll probably never guess that these strange creatures are young ladybugs. Like miniature crocodiles, they have long, pointed abdomen, spiny bodies, and legs that protrude from the sides. The larvae feed and grow for about a month, and at this stage, they often consume hundreds of aphids.

6. Ladybugs eat a lot of insects

10 interesting facts about ladybugs

Almost all ladybugs feed on mollusks and are beneficial predators for plant pests. Gardeners welcome ladybugs with open arms, knowing that they will chew the most prolific plant pests. Ladybugs prefer to eat scales, whiteflies, mites and aphids. As larvae, they eat hundreds of pests. A hungry adult ladybird can devour 50 aphids a day, and scientists estimate that the insect consumes up to 5,000 aphids in its lifetime.

7. Farmers use ladybugs to control other insects

Because ladybugs have long been known to eat gardeners' plague aphids and other insects, there have been many attempts to use ladybugs to control these pests. The first attempt—and the most successful—came in the late 1880s, when an Australian ladybird (Rodolia cardinalis) was imported into California to control cotton-cushioned scales. The experiment was expensive, but in 1890, California's orange crop tripled.

Not all such experiments work. After the success of California oranges, more than 40 different ladybugs were introduced to North America, but only four were successfully established. The best successes helped farmers control scaly worms and mealybugs. Systematic aphid control is rarely successful because aphids reproduce much faster than ladybugs.

8. There are ladybird pests

You may have personally experienced the effects of one of these biocontrol experiments that had unintended consequences. The Asian or harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) was introduced to the United States in the 1980s and is now the most common ladybird in many parts of North America. While it does suppress aphid populations in some crop systems, it also causes a decline in native species for other aphid eaters. The North American ladybird is not yet endangered, but its overall population has dwindled, which some scientists believe is the result of a clown-corner competition.

Some other negative effects are also associated with Harlequin. In late summer, ladybugs prepare for the winter dormancy period by eating fruit, especially ripe grapes. Because they blend with the fruit, ladybugs are harvested with the crop, and if the winemaker doesn't remove the ladybugs, the unpleasant smell of "knee bleeding" can contaminate the vintage. Armpit bugs also like to overwinter in the house, and some homes are invaded by hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of ladybugs every year. The way their knees bleed can stain furniture and occasionally bite.

9. Sometimes swarms of ladybugs wash up on the shore

Near large swaths of water around the world, large numbers of coccidioidae, dead and alive, occasionally or often appear along coastlines. The largest scouring to date occurred in the early 1940s, when an estimated 4.5 billion people were spread across Libya's 21 kilometers of coastline. Only a few of them are still alive.

Why this is happening is still not understood by the scientific community. The hypotheses fall into three categories: ladybird float travel (they can float for a day or more); Insects congregate along the coastline because they are reluctant to cross large areas of water; Low-flying ladybugs are forced ashore or into water by storms or other weather events.

10. Ladybugs practice cannibalism

If food is scarce, ladybugs will do everything they can to survive, even if it means eating each other. The hungry ladybug will eat any soft siblings it encounters. Newly emerged adult or recently molted larvae are soft enough for common ladybugs to chew.

The eggs, or pupae, also provide protein for ladybugs that have run out of aphids. In fact, scientists believe that ladybugs deliberately lay sterile eggs as a food source for their young. When difficult times, the ladybug may lay more sterile eggs to give her baby a better chance of survival.