What do ladybugs eat: the ladybird is a polyphagous and generalist insect, it adapts well to different environments but is threatened by other species. Let's see all the details.
What do ladybugs eat?Here, this is a good question to ask yourself if you want to attractladybugsin your own garden. Thereladybugit is considered a very useful insect in the vegetable garden and in the garden, in addition, it is considered a real onelucky charm living.
Of all insects, aloneladybugs and butterfliesthey are the ones most appreciated by the public. Hence various curiosities: what they feed on, where they live and how to attract them to your garden.
First, if you intend to attract ladybugsin your garden, you must avoid the use of pesticides and any repellent: ladybugs are extremely sensitive to pollution. Before you seewhat do ladybugs eatwe want to share some valuable information with you.
Red ladybug and yellow ladybug
The trueItalian ladybirdhas seven points (the speciesCoccinella septempunctata), this is considered the symbol ofluck. Introduced artificially, there is no shortage of other ladybugs in our country. If you have noticed oneyellow ladybugin the garden, it is probably theHarlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis). The harlequin ladybird was nicknamed for the variability of its colors. This species can be identified in one black ladybugas well as in ladybugs of various colors. More typically, the coloration of the elytra can vary from red to yellow-orange and the number of black dots present is equally variable.
Also on our territory you can find a third species of ladybug, Adalia bipunctata, it is oneladybug with two pointssymmetrical, placed in the center of the red elytra. It is a smaller ladybug than the other two species mentioned.
What do ladybugs eat?
Here we are finally at the central curiosity of many readers:what the ladybug eats?
Thereladybugit is an insectpolyphagusIt'sgeneralist. This means that their diet is very extensive and in extreme conditions they can practice cannibalism and feed on smaller specimens of their own species. Cannibalism rarely occurs in nature, where theladybugit mainly behaves like an insectentomophagus.
What does entomophagus mean? That theladybug eats insects and insect larvae of other species, especially parasites such as plant lice.
Due to its propensity to hunt and feed on parasitic insects, theladybugit is much loved in agriculture so much that it is often artificially introduced inintegrated biological control.
Theladybugsthey are very effective in the biological fight against aphids. The University of Kentucky (USA) reports that a singleladybug eatsup to 65 aphids in a single day and can reachto eatup to 5,000 aphids during its life cycle.
What do ladybugs eat? Predominantly aphids, plant lice and other plant pests. This is why theladybugis considered alucky charm: protects the crop and is associated with prosperity.
Due to its ability to eat aphids, European ladybugs have been artificially introduced into US agricultural fields since the 19th century. Sadly, the seven-point ladybug has taken over and decimates native U.S. ladybird populations.
A similar scenario is taking place today in Italy. The ladybird or harlequinAsian ladybugit has been considered more effective in biological control because it is easier to raise and introduce into an environment. In recent years, Italian farmers have massively introduced the harlequin ladybird to eliminate aphids. Unfortunately, this ladybug is putting the populations of homegrown ladybirds at risk (two-point and seven-point).
What does the ladybug eat: in-depth analysis
Over the past decade, theAsian ladybughas become the most abundant ladybug species on our territory, so much so that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified this insect among the 100 most invasive species in Europe for its ability to spread and its strong impacts on 'ecosystem.
The arrival of the Asian ladybug has indeed halved the populations of local aphids but other insects have also been victims, starting with the other ladybugs. We told you that the ladybug is an insect polyphagusbut above all entomophagus: it feeds on insects of other species ... Among other predated insects, the harlequin ladybird also eats the seven-pointed ladybird!
Thereseven-point ladybugmainly eats aphids and other plant lice. Thatharlequinit can also prey on insects that are useful for agriculture.
Ladybug in winter
Thereladybug in winter is not active, in fact, until recently, in the countryside, in the autumn period, there were real gatherings of ladybugs! Ladybugs gathered to take refuge in places protected from the cold such as coves in the walls, cracks in the bark or sheltered holes. So if you wonder what ladybugs eat in winter, know that this insect is inactive during the cold months of the year.
Among the natural predators of ladybugs there are othersentomophagous insects(like the harlequin ladybug), reptiles (frogs, lizards…) and birds. For other curiosities: what lizards eat.