Ladybug Love

14 Nov

Not the prettiest of babies, ladybug larvae have a face only a mother could love!

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Ladybug larvae look so scary that the first time I saw them in my garden I cringed, wondering whether they would grow up to become good bugs or naughty bugs, devourers of pests or devourers of plants, friend or foe?
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Here’s a look at some ladybug larvae I spotted (ouch, excuse the pun!) er, photographed so that you can recognize them in your garden..

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Ladybug larvae do not have the hard shells and poisonous, odorous juices that will protect them as adults. Here they gather together to rest and grow, facing their spiky backs outward to shield the group's otherwise soft, vulnerable bodies. They also congregate to form structured groups in a linked pattern designed to keep anyone from falling or blowing off the plant their mother chose because of its ready supply of tasty food - usually aphids.

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They like to steady themselves in the niche between a leaf and a stem.

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These ladybug larvae are sharing a leaf umbrella to buffer windy, rainy weather. They are using all six legs to straddle a stem and cling on.

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I love these little critters because they eat 20-50 aphids a day, each!  Not to mention scales, mealy bugs, leaf hoppers, mites, and other soft-bodied insects.   They are susceptible to pesticide, so if you want them to take up residence and clean up garden pests up for you, you must stop using toxic, non-targeted pesticides.  For a lazy gardener such as myself, it is a wonderful thing not to have to spray each week.  Ladybugs are cute little killing machines that will amble around and do the work for you – sort of like a Roomba vacuum cleaner for your garden!

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You might also like: What’s This I See? It’s Not A Bee!

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