Latin Name: Coccinella 7 punctata (7 spotted ladybird)
Description: Ladybirds are small, brightly coloured beetles. The black flying wings are covered by a hard shelled wing cover (elytra) that can be red, yellow or orange with black spots or more rarely stripes on it. They are approximately 1.2 – 9mm in length. Ladybirds have six legs.
Habitat: Ladybirds are found in gardens, forests, nettlebeds, scrubland and farmland.
Food: Most ladybirds feed exclusively on aphids (greenfly and blackfly). Some ladybirds will feed on red spider mites.
Distribution: Ladybirds are found all over the world but are found in larger numbers in Europe and North America. They can be seen at any time of the year, although they do hibernate in the Winter and are therefore more often seen in the Summer months.
Eggs: Ladybird eggs are orange in colour and depending on the species, the number of eggs can vary from 3 to 300. The eggs are laid in the Spring and Summer months and hatch after 5-8 days. Ladybirds lay their eggs close to a colony of aphids.
Did You Know?
- There are many species of ladybird.
- Ladybirds are viewed as a friend of the farmer and gardener because they eat aphids which feed on crops and vegetables.
- Recently ladybird farms have been set up in Britain to encourage farmers and gardeners to use ladybirds as a form of pest control.
- With the use of pesticides in farming, ladybird numbers have declined.
- The leg joints on a ladybird provide a method of defence when attacked by birds and other animals. When attacked the leg joints bleed and the blood contains an unpleasant substance called coccinelline which repels the attacker. This is called reflex-bleeding.
- The brightly coloured wing shell helps to protect the ladybird by warning off predators.
- The life span of a ladybird is about a year.
- Ladybirds are often found in large numbers and they hibernate in groups.
I saw my first ladybirds of 2007 in early March when I was putting new straw into my poultry hut. Two ladybirds emerged from the straw and tried to escape across the floor. I managed to capture their escape with my camera.
Click on the image to go to Amazon.co.uk to find out more about this book about Ladybirds.