Ladybugs
 

Ladybugs
Coccinellidae

A family of beetles

Ladybirds in British English, Australian English, South African English

 Ladybugs in North American English)

Lady beetles preferred by some scientists

Also sometimes called Ladyclock, Lady cow, and Lady fly.

 


These  small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm  are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae.

A large number of species are mostly or entirely black, grey, or brown and may be difficult for non-entomologists to recognize as coccinellids (and, conversely, there are many small beetles that are easily mistaken as such, like tortoise beetles).

Coccinellids are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described.

A few species are pests but they are generally considered useful insects as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places.
 

 

The Effects of Insecticide on Ladybugs : http://www.selah.k12.wa.us  An experiment to determine the effect of insecticide on ladybugs by Jennifer M. 1998-99

The ladybird beetles, or ladybugs, have been extremely beneficial to man. Both the larvae and adults are predaceous, feeding on such destructive insects as aphids, greenbugs, spider mites, and the larvae of the corn earworm and the cotton leafworm. The adults are small, oval, and usually brilliantly colored. Most species are tan, red, or black, decorated with bright splashes of contrasting colors. Their heads are small and almost completely covered by the prothorax.

The adult ladybug hibernates over the winter. Occasionally the ladybug will hibernate alone under any convenient shelter, but more often it will cluster with hundreds or thousands of its cousins in a small area. In the eastern United States tangles of ladybugs are often found hibernating under piles of garbage, or jam-packed into a sheltered corner. In the western states, however, the ladybug flies from the lowlands to the mountains for the winter. In November, huge swarms of ladybugs settle on bushes and plants where they remain dormant, usually until April.

During this period of hibernation, pestcontrol firms send pickers into the western mountainous areas to collect the dormant ladybugs. The ladybugs are packed in gallon containers, each holding up to 150,000 of these small beetles, and then refrigerated. Kept at low temperature, the ladybugs can lie dormant for several months without suffering harmful effects.

Upon order, the ladybugs are shipped to farmers, agriculturists, or gardeners, usually in boxes filled with pine cones. The ladybugs climb into the pine cones and are thereby protected against injury during transit. As soon as they are received, the tiny predators must be refrigerated again or they will crawl or fly away. As soon as the farmer or agriculturist is in need of pest control, he releases the ladybugs on his land. The beetles awake from their hibernation with huge appetites, and as soon as they are warmed sufficiently, hurry off in search of prey.

In recent years, many indoor gardeners have begun to keep boxes of ladybugs in their refrigerators at all times-right next to the cold chicken and the wilted stalk of celery. When aphids are discovered on a houseplant, the so-called gardenless gardeners take a few ladybugs from the refrigerator, place them on the plant in question, and the aphid problem is quickly solved. Since adult ladybugs can devour up to 60 aphids a day, only a few of these hungry beetles are required to do the job.

The Coccinellidae, unlike most other beetles, lay their eggs in the open. It is not unusual to find clusters of oval, lemon-yellow ladybug eggs in the vicinity of colonies of aphids. This is planned so that when the larvae emerge they can find their first meal waiting nearby.

Epilachna. Members of the genus Epilachna are unusual in that they are not predaceous, but feed on vegetation, sometimes to damaging degrees. The best known and most destractive species in this genus is Epilachna vanvestis, the Mexican bean beetle. In some regions this insect has made bean production almost impossible. Both the larvae and the adults favor the leaves of snap and lima beans, stripping the leaves until they resemble fine lacework.
 


 

INDEX : Insects   January 11, 2016 02:26:00 PM