Ladybugs, eggs and larvae, garden friends
Ladybugs, eggs and larvae are garden friends
Ladybugs are familiar to most of us, but the voracious little larval form of the lady bug often misses due credit. The somewhat triangular, elongated black crawler with red spots grows to between 1/4 – 1/2″. It doesn’t much resemble the adult beetle form, but eats many times its weight in aphids and other pests, sometimes out-shining the adult lady beetle as gardian of the garden. Although the little fellow isn’t as attractive as the shiny red beetle, treat it with respect. This is definitely a friend to honor when you find it crawling on your plants.
Note that ladybugs (Coccinela) can come in an assortment of sizes, shapes and colors. Not all are red, some being grey, black, orange or yellow. They can have a few spots, many spots or none at all. There are even some ladybugs that are reverse colored with red spots on a black background. Whether it is because ladybugs are so helpful in the garden or because they are so ornamental, these insects remain one of the favorites for children and adults alike. They decorate fabrics, decor for both indoors and out, and serve as models for sculptures and toys.
Welcome the ladybug to your garden whether you find it in mature bug form or larval form. These good bugs will help keep your landscape healthy and minimize insect pests. I have found that in my garden if I let a couple of celery plants go to flower and seed, these seem to act as catch plants for much of the aphid population, and, as a result, a major attraction for ladybugs. Often I will find the plants festooned with eggs, larvae and adult ladybugs. They breed happily there until the food source of aphids has been depleted and then merrily wing their way to the rest of my garden plants to continue satisfying their voracious appetites for unwanted insect pests.
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