Intro: The ladybug, also called ladybird and lady beetle, is great for container gardens because they keep out those annoying aphid pests that eat your container plants. Don’t destroy any yellow eggs laid underneath plant leaves, as these will hatch into ladybug larvae. They have a very different-looking larvae, so don’t kill any insects that look like the one in the photo below. Ladybug larvae actually eat more pests than adults. Ladybugs can live to three years old and can grow to about 0.3 inches.
Scientific Name: Coccinella septempunctata
Habitat: This specific species is native to Europe. It has been introduced into the United States to control aphids, and it has been so successful that it has outcompeted other Coccinella species. Other ladybug species can be found throughout the entire world, except for very cold areas.
How to Attract: To attract ladybugs, build or purchase a ladybug home, keep your garden watered (since they seek out water) and keep plants that have umbrella-shaped flowers. If you aren’t having luck attracting ladybugs, purchase some from your local garden center and release them into your garden. Good plants include dill, marigolds and dandelions.
Misc. Info: To protect itself from predators, the ladybug releases a foul-tasting fluid from joints in its legs, and it has its bright red colors and spots to look unappetizing. It also plays dead to escape predation. In addition to aphids, the ladybug also eats spider mites, mealybugs and other harmful insects that often plague gardens. The ladybug is the official insect of six different states – Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.