Saturday, May 9, 2009
Pink-Spotted Lady Beetles
Today's gorgeous weather prompted me to make a trip to one of the farms my in-laws own. I spent over 4 hours outside walking the perimeters of the property searching for interesting insects. I came upon these lovely little ladybugs. They are the Pink-Spotted Lady Beetle. They are native to Missouri as well as all of the Eastern United States. They are a common sight in Missouri. Just like other ladybugs they are beneficial to have in your garden as they consume large amounts of aphids and other harmful insects. Mating occurs in the spring, and I found several amorous couples during my expedition. The female can lay between 200 and 1000 eggs in a two to three month time span. She will deposit the eggs in small clusters on the leaves of plants, usually near a ready supply of food, like aphids. It takes them about 4 to 6 weeks to complete their life cycle and become the adults you see pictured here. They are a lovely shade of deep pink with black spots. Their bodies are more elongated then most ladybugs, and they are approximately 1/4 inch long. In the fall large numbers of these will sometimes aggregate looking for areas to overwinter. Look for them in gardens, roadsides, near agricultural areas, prairies, open fields and meadows.