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Ladybug Facts, Identification, and Control in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut

Scientific Order: Coleoptera (all Beetles)

Scientific Family: Coccinellidae

Common Species:

  • The convergent lady beetle (hippodamia convergens)

  • The seven-spotted ladybug (coccinella septempunctata)

Appearance

  • Size: Varies based on specific species, but most ladybugs measure between 1 and 10 millimeters.

  • Color: Ladybugs are famous for the vibrant red or orange color of their wing sheaths. Different species of ladybug could be red, orange, tan, or even yellow.

Control

Signs of Infestation

In the winter, ladybugs may enter a building in large numbers to keep warm. Check damp, dark areas of your building in particular. Overwintering ladybugs may be attracted to basements, crawl spaces, attics, or closets.

When ladybugs congregate, they give off pheromones that attract more ladybugs. Ladybugs tend to congregate on light-colored surfaces that reflect sunlight. They're particularly common in spring and fall.

Treatment and Prevention

Find areas where ladybugs congregate and wash them with soapy water or bleach to wash away the pheromone scent. Consider vacuuming up swarms of ladybugs to remove them, and throw the bag away when you're finished.

Ladybugs enter buildings through small cracks and crevices. Inspect your building for vulnerabilities around the baseboard, frames, utility lines, foundation, and vents. Seal up any cracks and crevices you find with caulk.

Identification

Diet and Behavior

Ladybugs are carnivorous and primarily prey on aphids. Some species also feed on scale insects, mealybugs, spider mites, and other small or developing pests. Ladybugs are considered beneficial insects because they hunt crop-destroying pests.

In order to find aphids, ladybugs typically spend most of their time flying around the plant life aphids prey on. Ladybugs are also very temperature-sensitive, so when they aren't hunting, they seek out sun-reflecting, warm surfaces where they can congregate.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Ladybugs reproduce sexually. During mating season, ladybugs secrete pheromones to attract partners. After fertilization, female ladybugs may wait several months before laying eggs. A single female ladybug can lay hundreds of eggs at once.

Ladybugs go through four life cycle stages: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. A single female ladybug can lay hundreds of eggs at once. Ladybugs grow faster in warm environments where food is abundant. After reaching adulthood, most ladybugs naturally live for about one more year.

Other Characteristics

  • Most ladybugs have black dots on their wing sheaths. The number, size, and arrangement of dots varies from species to species--there are two-spottedseven-spotted, and nine-spotted species.

  • Most ladybugs have white markings on this mostly black section of their wing sheath, but the asian lady beetles’ are shaped differently and tend to be larger.

  • Despite their name, ladybugs are actually considered beetles. They have all the defining characteristics of all species in the beetle family, including the elytra wing covers.

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