I saw her yesterday on the door frame of my room, tonight she is on my bed stand. A perfect little ladybug. For some reason, many… and I mean over fifty percent of the places I have lived in, have had Ladybugs in the house. I have always taken it as good luck, they are the perfect little beneficial bug.
My youngest son would argue, you see, in this house, they mostly live in his room. Like 20 of them on a good day. He isn’t feeling the love, he is sure they are going to swarm him in his sleep, lol…the imagination of a 16 year old boy. The life cycle of a Ladybug is quite amazing, how they evolve from a prehistoric looking little creature, into the round red little bug you recognize. Every spring we have tons of people come in to the garden centre, worried they are being taken over by some prehistoric monster bug, that will annihilate their plants. They will not eat your plants, they eat aphids, scale insects, mealybugs and mites that ARE eating your plants, the more Ladybugs you have, the better!!! Here is a little history about the Ladybug… There are approximately 5000 species of Ladybugs in the world ( and about 400 different kinds in North America). They have four stages of life, similar to that of a butterfly.
Usually the Ladybugs will lay their eggs on the underside of a leaf to protect them from predators. The mothers can lay up to around 300 eggs at a time, and in her lifetime, she can lay up to about 4,000 eggs. They usually pick somewhere close to a colony of aphids to lay the eggs to insure that the babies will have plenty of food when it comes time, and it only takes anywhere from 2-6 days for the eggs to hatch!!
Once they are hatched and in the Larva stage they begin feeding, they stay in this stage for approximately 3-4 weeks, molting is part of the development of the Larva and they will molt continually through this stage, the new skin getting more elastic each time. The pupa stage is next, this stage lasts for a few weeks, they attach themselves to a leave or branch and stay stationary during this growth phase, once they have entered the pupa stage they are only about a week away from becoming an adult Ladybug.
During the beginning of the adult stage the ladybugs can be fairly vulnerable, as they are still very soft bodied, and can be come victim to a birds, dragonflies, wasps, and frogs. Once the adult is full grown they will secrete an oily and nasty tasting fluid from the joints in their legs, which makes them unappealing to eat!! Also, they are bright colors for a reason, it tells predators to eat something else…they do NOT taste good…amazing!! A Ladybug can eat up to 5,000 aphids in its lifetime, that is alot of eating for one little bug!! The Ladybugs do most of their work from Spring to Fall, and in the winter will find somewhere warm to hibernate…like my sons room :) Hibernating colonies can hold thousands of Ladybugs…(please don’t tell Colton that) and apparently they sleep at night, just like we do!! The lifespan of the average Ladybug is 1 to 2 years, which is a fairly long time for an insect!! So when you are out in your garden and you see any of the above lingering on your plants, be sure to give them lots of love and room to grow!! In a world where everyone uses a pesticide to kill every little thing, these insects will do it all naturally. Also remember, if you are using pesticide, you will harm (kill) the Ladybugs as well. If you don’t have a good supply of Ladybugs from nature, you can go to your local garden centre. A lot of places sell them for your garden, or have a good line on where you can find some. Nature is a far better controller of garden pests than any pesticide will ever be, and thankfully they are making it harder to buy them. Back to nature is better!!
Spring is coming and I know that I personally can’t wait to get back outside to play in the dirt…I am taking it as a good sign that there is Ladybug love in my house!! Oh and rumor has it, that one of Bill’s friends in Courtenay had a hummingbird on the weekend…not sure what that is all about, but it is a good sign I am thinking!! Bring on spring and the warm weather!!