Friday, July 1, 2011
Pink-Spotted Lady Beetle
This lovely lady beetle is the Pink-Spotted Lady Beetle (Coleomegilla maculata), they are native to North America and are one of the most frequently encountered ladybugs in Missouri. They will often be found in meadows, prairies, gardens and most anywhere flowering plants occur. While it is true that they eat aphids, they will also eat mites, and insects eggs. It is also reported they will consume plant nectar, in fact it may make up as much as 50% of their diet, which is not so typical of other ladybugs.
1.) Coleomegilla maculata fuscilabris; which are more orange in color and have a small range that includes South Carolina to Florida, then west along the Gulf Coast to Louisiana.
2.) Coleomegilla maculata lengi, which are commonly used to control whitefly outbreaks in greenhouses. They are excellent biological control of the Colorado Potato Beetle as they will feed on the eggs of this potentially damaging beetle. As much as a 58% reduction in Colorado potato beetles have been shown in some fields because of this subspecies. They appear to have a wider range than fuscilabris and can be found throughout the midwest and as far north as Canada.
3.) Coleomegilla maculata strenua, which is a western species found from Texas to California.
This species of ladybug is being targeted in a biological control study in Florida, where they are cross breeding Lengi with fuscilabris. Presumably this will create a predaceous ladybug suited to Floridas extreme climate and conditions.
Mating typically takes place in the spring and summer, and the female may lay up to a 1,000 eggs in her life time. She will generally lay her eggs near a ready food source like aphids. Each larvae may consume between 3,000-5,000 aphids, mites, insect eggs and other soft bodied insects in their life time. This makes them extremely beneficial and good insects to share the garden with. Adults will overwinter in large aggregations much like the dreaded Multi-colored Asian lady beetle does, the main differences being them is the pink-spotted is native whereas the MALB is not! The pink-spotted behaves like a lady, she will not stain your fabrics or furniture, she will not bite and she does not stink. Sharing your homes, buildings or business with this species will often go unnoticed. They are not the bad guest that visits uninvited and leaves a mess in their wake.