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Lady Beetles - Coccinellidae These great little garden helpers are widely referred to as ladybugs but in fact these helpful insects are not bugs at all, they are beetles. The term ladybug is considered scientifically to be slang for the correct name Lady Beetle. Other popular names include ladybird and ladybird beetle. Coccinellidae means "little sphere" and their shiny, often brightly colored bodies are dome shaped, oval, or convex. There are about 5.000 different species of lady beetles in the world! But only a few hundred of them live in Europe.
Range As you can see from the map lady beetles can be found almost worldwide but especially in temperate climates.Â
What do lady beetles eat? Lady beetles are omnivores and eat a variety of things that make them famous as a source for organic and biological pest control. Lady beetles particularly like aphids and may eat upwards of 5,000 in itâ€™s lifetime. Also on the menu for these hungry little pest eaters are small insects such as whitefly, mealybugs, scales, mites, bollworm, broccoli worm, tomato hornworm and cabbage moth. They will also eat the eggs of some insects such as moth eggs and certain lady beetles eat pollen and mildew. Rarely but if necessary a lady beetle may resort to cannibalism.
habitat Lady beetles can often be found in a variety of foliage such as gardens, trees, shrubs, flowers, forests, weed patches and fields. In some areas lady beetles are found infesting peoples homes as well.
Diapause Diapause is the insect version of hibernation. It is thought that lady beetles engage in this activity to conserve resources and to facilitate reproduction. These cute little critters gather in places such as tree trunks, logs, ground cover, buildings & sometimes in peoples homes when temperatures drop below 13째C. Lady beetles require heat acquired from their environment to maintain and regulate their body temperature. Below this temperature you will not see lady beetles active or flying around.
Do lady beetles sleep? Lady beetles are active during the day and go into a state of rest at night. In this period of rest, they are unresponsive to things going on around them. When an individual lady beetle goes into this state seems to vary slightly from lady beetle to lady beetle.
Life cycle The time it takes for a lady beetle egg to hatch and become an adult takes about 3 to 4 weeks depending on the weather conditions. Their life cycle sure does happen fast! lady beetle eggs are very small, oval in shape and are a pale yellow color. Mother lady beetles lay their eggs usually on the undersides of leaves to keep them protected from hungry predators. She makes sure that she leaves her eggs close to a lot of food (aphids) so her little darlings will have plenty to eat once they hatch 3 to 5 days after she lays the eggs. Baby lady beetles (lady beetle larvae) are a little spikey looking and some say that they resemble alligators, a whole lot smaller of course! Baby lady beetles are virtually as predatory as their parents and spend their days eating and eating and eating, they can eat up to 400 aphids in 2 to 3 weeks. After the lady beetle babies have filled their little bellies and grown a bit they attach themselves to a leaf and pupate. This is the transition stage when in about a week they will turn into a beautiful little adult lady beetle.
Defenses The bright colors on many species of lady beetles warn predators that they will not make a good meal. This method of protection works so well that many species that wouldn’t make a predator sick, mimic the color patterns of lady beetles that are poisonous. Lady beetles can also play dead! If a predator gets to close to them, they may choose to fall lifelessly into the bushes below them or fall and dangle in a very still position upside down after being spotted.
Lady beetles don’t bite humans the same way a flea or mosquito does but they can pinch with their mandibles. Normally you would not notice or be hurt by it.
Lady beetles can also release a bad smelling & tasting orange chemical from their joints to deter predators. This is known as “reflex bleeding” and generally occurs when a lady beetle is under stress.
some Fun facts • When a lady beetle flies, it beats its wings about 5100 times a minute or about 85 beats a second. • As lady beetles age, the color of their spots fades. • Lady beetles breathe through openings on the sides of their bodies. • In 1999, NASA sent lady beetles and aphids up in the space shuttle to test their movements in zero gravity. • In its lifetime, a female lady beetle will lay as many as 2.000 eggs. • A lady beetle can retract its head into its body.
the search - how to find a lady beetle? Lady beetles are small, so one would think they are difficult to find. However, in reality they are fairly easy to discover! To make searching for them even easier there are 3 techniques you can choose from.
Beating Branches or plants
Visual search A good visual search for lady beetles is probably the most natural and typical way people begin searching for lady beetles. Itâ€™s fun to get outside and start observing nearby plants and foliage to see if you can find these wonderful little insects. However if these are less common in your area or you are not used to seeing lady beetles, this particular technique for finding them may require some knowledge of their biology.
Sweeping This is a great technique for catching lady beetles and really fun for kids as well. Using a net make scooping motions across vegetation. The sweeping motion will collect lady beetles and other insects that are crawling on the shoots of grasses, small branches and flowers. Because the motion is done in relative quick speed many little insects that may normally fly away are caught in the net including lady beetles. Examine the content of your net to see what really cool creatures you have collected.
Beating Branches or plants Youâ€™ll be amazed how many interesting things you will collect in addition to lady beetles using this technique. The simple process involves first getting or making a device for collecting lady beetles such as a net, umbrella or a homemade beating tray. You then beat tree branches and vegetation and let the debris and insects collect on your device.
mountains, sand, wetlands,...).
Don’t forget to submit the species you found at www.ladybe Hippodamia arctica
you found one, now what?
Hippodamia alpina Find the
4 Brumus oblongus
it’s red it has many spots the spots have a yellow circle around them ... 10
Search for it on the key
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Alright, it’s Anatis ocellata 18
noteHenosepilachna down your observation Henosepilachna argus
example: How many Name 32 Anatis ocellata 1 ... ... ... ...
Number 19 ... ...
Where ak tree 33 O ... ...
How many 1 ... ...
Where Roadside ... ...
submitting your data to the project
Once you have collected some data about the lady beetles in your neighbourhood, you can submit it to the project. We have chosen to make use of the existing infrastructure of Observado.org, which means everyone who wants to submit data will have to create an account first. Donâ€™t worry, it only takes a minute! At any time you can follow all the submitted data at our project screen.
Creating an account
In the upper right corner click on “create account” Fill in the fields
(usernamen, real name, e-mail, language and country)
Click “ok” and check your mail
a new mail will arrive shortly with a password
You can now login in
(also in the upper right corner)
3 Click on “projects” -> “european ladybirds” to go to our project screen
4 Here you get an overview of all the data submitted till date. At the upper right side there are 3 links to navigate trough the project screens. Click on the 3rd link to go to the data submission page.
adding the data
When did you do an observation? Where did you do an observation? Choose the name of the species in the list And on the next line the number of lady beetles you found
After “plumage” please fill in: “imago”, which means that it’s an adult insect You can add as much details as you like in the “remarks” field. This is optional.
After adding a species you can upload pictures for it, this is optional.
alternative With Obsmapp you can submit all your observations directly from the field. All observations are automatically linked to the current time and GPS location. After your field trip you can upload your sightings to one of the linked portals. (free Android app)
This is possible from the field by using the internetconnection of your device, but also from your home WIFI network.
Please send all your questions and comments to ladybeetles @ jnm.be