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Ladybird

Insect

Two-spot Adalia bipunctata
Size: up to 5 mm long. 

Seven spot Cocinella septempunctata
Size: up to 8 mm long. 

Among the best-known and most well-loved beetles, ladybirds are easy to recognise. They have bright red elytra (wing cases) with black spots.

The commonest species are the two-spot and larger seven-spot ladybirds, although about 40 others can also be found in the British Isles.

Ladybirds are brightly coloured, warning predators of their bitter taste, which helps survival. They are also able to exude a pungent fluid to ward off ants, birds and people.

During the winter adults hibernate in cracks, crevices and leaf litter and emerge in April to find a mate. Females lay eggs that hatch after about four days, depending on the temperature.

The steely-blue larvae with creamy-yellow spots do not resemble the adults. They eat aphids voraciously. After several moults over the course of a few months, they emerge as adults to feed for a few weeks before seeking a sheltered spot to hibernate. 

Ladybird larvae can be purchased via mail order as biological pest control for your garden.

What does it eat?

Adults and larvae feed on aphids and small insects.

When will I see it?

From early spring until autumn. You may see hibernating adults clustered in groups in sheds or other sheltered places.

Where will I see it?

Throughout the garden. Also in parks, meadows and woods.