Ladybirds are small, brightly coloured beetles, often seen on green plants in large numbers eating their way through colonies of greenfly. They are also referred to as ladybugs in some parts of the world, but the term ladybird is preferred by entomologists as they are not true bugs. They are seen as good neighbours by gardeners and farmers, and are often actively encouraged to aid pest control.
1. Not all Ladybirds have spots.
The paramysia oblonguttata is stripped.
2. Not all ladybirds are red
Colouration varies, usually bright shades of red, orange or yellow and black.
3. One species of ladybird can have many different appearances.
The two spot ladybird can be red with two to six spots, or completely black.
4. 'Ladybird, Ladybird, fly away home, your house is on fire, your children all gone'.
The above nursery rhyme ', dates from the time that hop fields were set alight at the end of the season, killing off the ladybird
5. Ladybird larvae eat more aphids than adult ladybirds.
A single ladybird larva was observed in cavity eating 90 adult and 3000 larval insects during its larval phase.
6. Not all ladybirds eat aphids
Ladybirds primary food source is aphids. However, a few species from south Africa are entirely vegetarian.
7. Ladybirds hibernate during the winter.
Ladybirds are cold blooded and so hibernate during the winter. In the British isles the most common larger species of ladybird, the seven spot coccinella 7-punctata, often hibernates in the open, fully exposed to view.
8. Ladybirds farms have previously been introduced to control pests.
The Australian Ladybird species Rhodalia cardinalis saved the citrus industry in California from the cottony cushion scale
If attacked, a ladybird defends itself by reflex bleeding, oozing blood from its leg joints. This blood contains unpleasant substance called coccinelline, which repels ants and most birds.
10. There are 88 species of ladybirds in central and northern Europe.
Ladybirds tend to be abundant in the temperate climate of Europe and North America, although they are found in most parts
of the world. There are 43 species in Britain alone.
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