What Do Ladybugs Eat? Ladybugs are notable for their magnificent wings which are often red or orange. These insects are very good with pest control and so are useful to farmers whose crops are infested with notorious insects like aphids.
Ladybugs are primarily carnivores, insectivores in particular feeding on a diet of aphids among other insects. In the event of resource scarcity of insects, some adult ladybugs species may eat pollen.
Table of Contents
- What Do Ladybugs Eat?
- Types of Ladybugs and Their Habitats
- How do Ladybugs Hunt?
- When do Ladybugs Eat?
- How often do Ladybugs Eat?
- What Eats Ladybugs?
- Where Do Ladybugs Fit in the Animal Food Chain?
- Key References
What Do Ladybugs Eat?
|Type of Ladybug||Diet|
|Seven-spotted Lady Beetle||Aphids, pollen, thrips, and fungal spores.|
|Two-spotted Lady Beetle||Soft-bodied insects, aphids, mites, other small insects, as well as insect eggs.|
|Eye-spotted Ladybug||Insects primarily aphids.|
|Asian Lady Beetles||Soft-bodied insects like aphids.|
Types of Ladybugs and Their Habitats
About 6,000 ladybug species exist around the world. Thanks to their wide distribution, these insects are known by different names in various regions.
For instance, in the US and Canada, they are referred to as ladybugs. In the United Kingdom and related British Commonwealth nations, they are known as ladybirds. They are also known as lady beetles in other areas.
Examples of the different types of ladybugs are given below.
What Do Seven-spotted Lady Beetles Eat?
Seven-spotted Lady Beetle feeds on aphids , but in the event of their scarcity, they eat pollen, thrips, and fungal spores.
- This lady beetle is about 6-8 mm long, and it is notable for its seven black spots on its red wing case.
- This beetle inhabits an array of areas including gardens, meadows, and hedgerows.
What Do Two-spotted Lady Beetles Eat?
Two-spotted Lady Beetles are mainly carnivorous, and they feed on soft-bodied insects.
- Their diet includes aphids, mites, other small insects, as well as insect eggs.
- This ladybird is known for its two dominant black spots on its red-orange elytra.
- This insect is native to Europe and North America, and it has wide distribution.
- Their habitats include meadows, forests, gardens, and fields.
What Do Eye-spotted Ladybugs Eat?
Eye-spotted Ladybugs hunt and capture prey that includes insects, primarily aphids.
- This type of ladybird tends to be a little bit larger compared to other standard ladybugs.
- It has orange in color with black spots. It gets its name from the fact that its black spots have pale rings around them, giving the impression of an eye.
- This ladybug is commonly found in gardens, especially on trees.
What Do Asian Lady Beetles Eat?
Asian Lady Beetles mainly feed on soft-bodied insects like aphids.
- These ladybugs are notable for their variations in color and the spots on their elytra.
- Their identifying characteristic is their M-shaped mark on their thorax.
- These ladybirds are commonly found in gardens with ornamental, field crops, or nurseries of plants like apples, alfalfa, cotton, rose, and Christmas trees.
How do Ladybugs Hunt?
Ladybugs have mastered a more straightforward way of finding food.
- The female ladybug lays its eggs next to a group of aphids. Because of this tactic, the larvae that hatch are brought closer to their food source.
- Both the larvae and adult ladybugs walk to the aphid colony to capture their prey.
- The aphids preyed upon by ladybugs are mostly wingless and move very little, which means no complications with traps are necessary.
When do Ladybugs Eat?
Ladybugs are mostly diurnal, meaning they are active during daylight hours. These insects tend to use sunlight for feeding and mating.
How often do Ladybugs Eat?
Ladybugs eat very often. Interestingly, an adult ladybug can eat up to 50 aphids while their larvae can consume 300-400 aphids, a day!
- During winter, ladybugs slow down their metabolism, and they go into a state of sleep.
- They can survive these harsh times by using the fat reserves they accumulated during summer.
- They will not feed as often as they would during winter.
What Eats Ladybugs?
As much as ladybugs have ways of protecting themselves from predators (their bright coloration, and their secretions), they are predated on by numerous organisms found in their environment.
Where Do Ladybugs Fit in the Animal Food Chain?
Ladybugs play an essential role in the animal food chain as prey and predators.
- These organisms are prey to organisms like swifts, some spiders, swallows, large beetles, and true bugs.
- Some ladybirds have been noted to eat their counterparts’ eggs and larvae. In essence, in their role as prey, they promote the survival of the organisms that feed on them.
- In their role as predators, ladybugs eat insects, primarily aphids. Because of this, they come in handy to gardeners who consider aphids to be detrimental pests to their crops.
As such, ladybugs prevent overpopulation of the insects they eat, thus promoting the existence of a healthy and thriving ecosystem.
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