The ladybug life cycle is not much different from the life cycle of a butterfly. The ladybug goes through the same four stages as a butterfly, the egg stage, the larvae stage, the pupa stage, and the adult ladybug stage. You know what adult ladybugs look like, but you wouldn’t even recognize them before they get to that final stage of their lives.
Articles covering the life cycle of a Ladybug including fun facts, anatomy and more.
Female ladybugs lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. This is to protect them from being seen by flying predators as well as from the weather. A mother ladybug will lay from ten to fifteen eggs in one place and she will make sure that it is a place where the babies can find food when they hatch. The ladybug eggs look similar to yellow jellybeans, except that they are tiny. The next time you are in the park in springtime, carefully look under some plant leaves and see if you can pick out some ladybug eggs, but don’t touch them because you could kill the babies.
Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will come out and start looking for something to eat. They will look for tiny mites or aphids and they should find plenty because the mother found the perfect leaf to lay her eggs under because of the abundance of food for the larvae to find. Newborn larvae look sort of like tiny alligators. After only a few days, the larvae will be large enough to begin to molt (shed their skin), and they keep molting for as long as they are growing. You can find the molted skins on leaves if you look very hard.
After a couple of weeks of growing, the larvae will start to change into something that looks like a shrimp. It will find a leaf to attach itself to and it will seem to fall asleep for a few days, but it is not sleeping at all. During the pupa stage, the larvae are going through a metamorphosis into a ladybug
Adult Ladybug Stage
What does a newly emerged ladybug (one that just hatched out of the pupa) look like?
When the metamorphosis is complete, the skin of the larvae will split open and the full grown ladybug will emerge, but it still won’t look like the ladybug that you know so well. It will look soft and pink or very pale for a couple of hours until its shell becomes hard. As the shell hardens it also gains pigment, which causes the ladybug to become bright red.
Many species of ladybugs are found throughout the United States, although one, the Asian lady beetle, was more recently introduced into the United States. Ladybugs are generally found in agricultural fields, orchards and gardens where their favorite foods, aphids, insects and mealy bugs can be found.
In the Fall, ladybugs will gather in large numbers in places where they will spend the winter – usually under rocks, leaves, old fallen trees and any other location sheltered from the weather.
They will sometimes aggregate on the outside of a house in the warmth. If they venture onto or into homes, they may appear to be somewhat of a pest to homeowners, but do not harm them, since they are so beneficial. Take them outside when you find them inside of your home. You may want to seal or caulk cracks and around windows to prevent them from entering your home.
Ladybugs, or lady beetles, are considered a beneficial bug which helps rid an area of crop-damaging aphids, mealy bugs and other destructive insect pests.
Most ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect crops. Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed.
The adult ladybugs feed on these insects. They also lay their eggs among the aphids or other prey so the emerging larvae can feed on the insects, too.
Ladybugs are natural voracious predators of many garden pests, and a single ladybug may consume as many as 5,000 aphids during its lifetime. Ladybugs control garden pests simply and effectively without having to use harmful pesticides.
Friends to Farmers
Many farmers rely heavily on ladybug populations to help maintain pest control on their crops. Aphids cause major crop damage and ladybugs keep them in check. Instead on tiny aphids feeding on plant juices and destroying crops, ladybugs feed on aphids. They lay hundreds of eggs in aphid colonies and, when they hatch, the ladybug larvae feed on the aphids immediately. A healthy ladybug population can keep insect pests low and reduce the need for insecticides. Ladybugs are beneficial to farmers because they eliminate these pests in an inexpensive and safe way.
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Source: Ladybug-life-cycle; saferbrand.com