ladybug on oak
Most ladybugs are red with black spots.

Photo by Sally King

Several species of ladybugs (or Ladybird Beetles) are commonly seen in the park. All during the summer and even late into autumn, ladybugs can often be seen on plants along the Main Loop Trail. A ladybug's favorite food is aphids, which can be destructive to some plants. Because ladybugs reduce the population of this potentially harmful pest, ladybugs are often seen as beneficial. Although ladybugs are most often red with black spots, they can vary in color. Some don't have any spots at all.

ladybug larva
Ladybugs become mobile and hungry when they reach the larval stage.  As with adults, their favored food is aphids.

Photo by Sally King

Like many insects, ladybugs go through several stages during their life. They start as eggs, which are usually laid within an aphid colony that provides a bounty of food as the insect moves through the subsequent stages. The larval stage is next. During this stage the the ladybug becomes mobile and starts to eat aphids. The third stage is the pupa stage (similar to a butterfly in its cocoon) from which an adult ladybug (the fourth and final stage) emerges.
ladybug larvae
In the larval stage, ladybugs look very different than in the adult stage.

Photos by Sally King

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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