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Aug 172012
 
lady beetle

photo J.K.Clark

Description

Convergent lady beetles have black, dome-shaped bodies and up to 13 black spots on their orange to red hind wings. Their alligator-like larvae are orange and blue. Other common aphid-feeding lady beetles have different numbers or shapes of markings.

Life cycle

Convergent lady beetles lay their oblong yellow eggs on plant foliage, with the number of eggs laid dependent on the number of prey available. Development from egg to adult takes about three to six weeks. Adults migrate to mountain canyons or foothills to hibernate in late summer, flying back to the valleys in the very early spring.

Key benefits

Convergent lady beetles feed primarily on aphids but will also consume whiteflies, other soft-bodied insects, and insect eggs. Both adults and larvae are aggressive predators; each day, adults can eat up to 50 aphids, and larvae can devour the aphid equivalent of their body weight.

 August 17, 2012