Even if you hate bugs, the ladybug seems to be the one most people think are cute and don’t mind if it lands on them. This may be because the ladybug is one of the more friendly and pretty insects. Plus, how bad could a bug be with “lady” in its name?
Let’s explore the Ladybug.
Looks Great…Tastes Awful!
The ladybug may be nice looking by us, but that bright color is a reminder to its predators that it tastes awful. However, if the hungry bird decides to ignore the ladybug’s bright appearance, it’s in trouble.
When this insect feels threatened, it secretes a foul tasting liquid from the joints in its legs. So even if a bird tries to eat the ladybug, it will soon learn its lesson.
Birds are not the only predators of this insect. Frogs, spiders, dragonflies, and wasps will also try to dine on the ladybug.
Small in Size…Big in Appetite!
This little red bug only measures about 0.3 to 0.4 inches (8 to 10 millimeters) in length, but it has a voracious appetite.
The ladybug preys on plant-eating insects like aphids. This insect is a welcomed guest on any farmer’s crop where these tiny pests lurk.
The female ladybug will also seek out areas where the aphids are abundant to lay her eggs. She lays hundreds of eggs, and from the moment they hatch, they begin to feed.
The aphids can live up to two years and are capable of eating around 5,000 insects during this time. So you can see why farmers would make way for these bugs – free labor!
Not All Ladybugs Are Helpful!
Out of the 5,000 different species of this bug, not all of them are helpful. In fact, some are downright destructive, feeding not on the plant-eaters, but on the plants themselves.
The Mexican Bean Beetle and Squash Beetle are both members of the ladybug family but can quickly do damage to crops.
In many cultures, the ladybug is considered good luck. In the US and Canada when a ladybug lands on you, you should recite this poem;
“Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home, your house is on fire, and your children are gone…”
This encourages it to leave faster so you can take note of the direction it goes. According to legend, this will be where your luck comes from.
In Sweden, if a ladybug crawls across an unmarried woman’s hand, she will soon be walking down the aisle.
In some areas, the number of spots plays a role in your fortune. Germany’s legend states that less than seven-spotted ladybugs will bring a good harvest.
In France and in Austria, the ladybug is a sign of good weather ahead.
Chinese people are happy to see one inside of their dwelling as it is a sign of good luck.
Wow, who knew the ladybug had so much magical power?
The ladybug may be just one of the many garden visitors we have in the summer, but it is also a truly fascinating part of the insect world.
Check out more information on the web about this helpful/destructive insect.