Sunday, May 13, 2012


The Ladybug is not a bug at all, but rather a beetle.  According to National Geographic, there are 5,000 different species of these tiny, short legged, half-sphere shaped insects.  Most people are fond of ladybugs because of their colorful, spotted appearance, while gardeners and farmers love them for their appetite.  Ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect the crops.  Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests.
When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed. The average age of a ladybug is one year, and in that year one may eat up to 5,000 aphids.  With spring emerging, the aphid battle begins again.  Here my Feverfew plants are armed by ladybugs waiting to do their job.
Another interesting fact from National Geographic is that their distinctive spots and attractive colors are meant to make them unappealing to predators. Ladybugs can secrete a fluid from joints in their legs which gives them a foul taste. Their coloring is likely a reminder to any animals that have tried to eat their kind before: "I taste awful." A threatened ladybug may both play dead and secrete the unappetizing substance to protect itself.

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