December 13, 2010
Did you know that Lady Bugs are the New Hampshire State Insect? Thanks to a group of motivated fifth graders, the Lady Bird Beetle (commonly known as the Lady Bug) has been representing the state since 1977.
The insect the Concord fifth graders had in mind was the native nine spotted lady bird beetle. These highly revered insects are helpful to farmers and gardeners because of their appetite for aphids and other plant-damaging arthropods such as scale, mealy bugs and mites. One study even suggests that a single Lady Bird Beetle can eat up to 60 aphids in one day! In fact, since lady bird beetles have such an effect on plant-eating arthropods, a non-native species from Asia was introduced in order to increase the ladybird beetle population. Some studies suggest that the introduction of this non-native species may have led to the decline of several native species. In their native habitat, the introduced multicolored Asian ladybird beetles migrate to rocky cliffs to over-winter. Here in NH we tend to find them flocking into our homes where they spend the cold winter months, often in areas that can be difficult to see. On warmer winter days, sometimes these insects start to move around, especially around cracks and crevices.
Do you have any ladybird beetles living with you this winter?
It’s a myth that you can tell how old a ladybird beetle is by counting its spots. Different species have different number of spots.