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Coccinella septempunctata
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Cucujoidea
Family: Coccinellidae
Latreille, 1807

etc. see list of Coccinellidae genera

Coccinellidae is a family of beetles, known variously as ladybirds (UK, Ireland, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Malta), ladybugs (North America), or lady beetles (preferred by some scientists). Lesser-used names include ladyclock, lady cow, and lady fly.[1]

They are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae. A very large number of species are mostly or entirely black, grey, or brown and may be difficult for non-entomologists to recognize as coccinellids (and, conversely, there are many small beetles that are easily mistaken as such, like tortoise beetles).

Coccinellids are found worldwide, with over 5,000 species described,[2] more than 450 native to North America alone.

Contrary to the name, not all of the beetles are ladies.

A few species are pests in North America and Europe, but they are generally considered useful insects as many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places. The Mall of America, for instance, releases thousands of ladybugs into its indoor park as a natural means of pest control for its gardens.[3]

A common myth is that the number of spots on its back indicates its age.[4]



Coccinella transversalis, elytra in the open position
Basic anatomy of a ladybird
Mid-larva stage
Third instar larva, Harmonia axyridis
Pupal stage
Eggs with the head of a match for scale

Coccinellids are typically predators of Hemiptera such as aphids and scale insects, though conspecific larvae and eggs can also be important resources when alternative prey are scarce. Members of the subfamily Epilachninae are herbivores, and can be very destructive agricultural pests (e.g., the Mexican bean beetle). While predatory species are often used as biological control agents, introduced species of ladybirds (such as Harmonia axyridis or Coccinella septempunctata in North America) outcompete and displace native coccinellids and become pests in their own right.

Coccinellids are often brightly colored to ward away potential predators. This phenomenon is called aposematism and works because predators learn by experience to associate certain prey phenotypes with a bad taste (or worse). Mechanical stimulation (such as by predator attack) causes "reflex bleeding" in both larval and adult ladybird beetles, in which an alkaloid toxin is exuded through the joints of the exoskeleton, deterring feeding. Ladybugs, as well as other Coccinellids are known to spray a toxin that is venomous to certain mammals and other insects when threatened.

Most coccinellids overwinter as adults, aggregating on the south sides of large objects such as trees or houses during the winter months, dispersing in response to increasing day length in the spring.[5] In Harmonia axyridis, eggs hatch in 3–4 days from clutches numbering from a few to several dozen. Depending on resource availability, the larvae pass through four instars over 10–14 days, after which pupation occurs. After a teneral period of several days, the adults become reproductively active and are able to reproduce again, although they may become reproductively quiescent if eclosing late in the season. Total life span is 1–2 years on average.

It is thought that certain species of Coccinellids lay extra infertile eggs with the fertile eggs. These appear to provide a backup food source for the larvae when they hatch. The ratio of infertile to fertile eggs increases with scarcity of food at the time of egg laying.[6]


Most coccinellids are beneficial to gardeners in general, as they feed on aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, and mites throughout the winter. As in many insects, ladybugs in temperate regions enter diapause during the winter, so they often are among the first insects to appear in the spring. Some species (e.g., Hippodamia convergens) gather into groups and move to higher land, such as a mountains, to enter diapause. Predatory ladybugs are usually found on plants where aphids or scale insects are, and they lay their eggs near their prey, to increase the likelihood the larvae will find the prey easily. Ladybugs are cosmopolitan in distribution, as are their prey.

Ladybugs also require a source of pollen for food and are attracted to specific types of plants. The most popular ones any type of mustard plant, as well as other early blooming nectar and pollen sources, like buckwheat, cilantro, red or crimson clover, and legumes like vetches. Also, early aphid sources, like bronze fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, yarrow, of the wild carrot family, Apiaceae. Other plants that also attract ladybugs include coreopsis, cosmos (especially the white ones), dandelions, and scented geraniums.

Do not use spraying insecticides; ladybugs are sensitive to most synthetic insecticides. If food sources are limited, oviposition is reduced. A larva uses its sharp jaws to crush an aphid`s body and sucks out the aphid`s juices.

Ladybugs as household pests



In the United States, ladybugs usually begin to appear indoors in the fall. They leave their summer feeding sites in fields, forests and yards looking for a place to spend the winter. Typically when temperatures warm to the mid 60's in the late afternoon, following a period of cooler weather, they will swarm onto or into buildings illuminated by the sun. Swarms of ladybugs fly to buildings in September through November depending on location and weather conditions. Also, homes or buildings near fields or woods are more prone to infestation.[7]

The presence of ladybugs in grape harvests can cause ladybird taint in wines produced from the grapes.

Human Impact

Ladybugs generally do not injure humans but are mainly a nuisance. However, recent studies suggest that ladybugs can cause some reactions, such as eye irritation or asthma. Dr. Linda Gilkeson, states "You bet those little critters can bite! They don't have any kind of venom or irritating saliva(like mosquitoes, black flies, etc.), but they are just big enough for us to feel it when they pinch our skin." The ladybugs emit an acrid odor and can stain surfaces with their yellowish secretions; this defense reaction known as "reflex bleeding," which prevents predators, such as birds, from eating them. However, in a home, the fluid can stain walls and fabrics. "This substance actually is ladybug blood," says Tedders, a researcher from the United States Department of Agriculture. "It comes out the joints of the legs. Ladybugs are not structure-damaging pests and they will enter the wall of buildings through cracks and crevices."

Prevention and Control

Ladybugs are natural predators to many pest insects, including aphids, scale insects and other sap feeders (an adult ladybug can eat up to 1,000 aphids a day). As such, they are primarily viewed as beneficial insects. Use of insecticides may reduce the ladybug population and may cause increased damages to crops as well as garden plants.

Preventing the ladybugs from entering the building is the best approach to keeping them from becoming a nuisance in the fall and winter. Caulking the exterior cracks and crevices and filling the larger openings with cement, urethane foam or copper mesh is a permanent way to keep them out. The time to do this is late spring or summer, before the adults begin flying to buildings in search of over wintering sites. Repair damaged window screens and installing screening behind attic vents which are common entry points for the ladybugs. Install tight-fitting door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors. Vacuuming would be the easiest way to collect them once they are indoors and if you wish to release them outdoors you should place a handkerchief inside the hose. Using insecticides indoors for control of the ladybugs is not typically recommended unless the infestation is heavy and is a perennial problem. They like to burrow underneath insulation and once established they would breed over the winter months.

Coccinellids in popular culture

Coccinellids are and have for very many years been favorite insects of children. The insects had many regional names (now mostly disused) such as the lady-cow, may-bug, golden-knop, golden-bugs (Suffolk); and variations on Bishop-Barnaby (Norfolk dialect) – Barnabee, Burnabee, and the Bishop-that-burneth. The etymology is unclear but it may be from St. Barnabas feast in June, when the insect appears or a corruption of "Bishop-that-burneth", from the fiery elytra of the beetles.[8]

Ladybird on a Nettle Leaf at Bank Hall, Bretherton

The ladybird was immortalised in the still-popular children's nursery rhyme Ladybird, Ladybird:

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one, and that's Little Anne
For she has crept under the warming pan.

In parts of Northern Europe, tradition says that one's wish is granted if a ladybird lands on oneself (this tradition lives on in North America, where children capture a ladybug, make a wish, and then "blow it away" back home to make the wish come true). In Italy, it is said by some that if a ladybird flies into one's bedroom, it is considered good luck. In central Europe, a ladybird crawling across a girl's hand is thought to mean she will get married within the year. In some cultures they are referred to as fortune bugs.

In Russia, a popular children's rhyme exists with a call to fly to the sky and bring back bread; similarly, in Denmark a ladybird, called a mariehøne ("Mary's hen"), is asked by children to fly to 'our lord in heaven and ask for fairer weather in the morning'.

The name that the insect bears in the various languages of Europe is mythic. In this, as in other cases, the Virgin Mary has supplanted Freyja, the fertility goddess of Norse mythology; so that freyjuhœna (Old Norse) and Frouehenge have been changed into marihøne (Norwegian) and Marienvoglein (German), which corresponds with Our Lady's Bird; similarly, in Serbian the common name is bubamara (buba-Mara, Mary-beetle). In Spanish its most common name is mariquita, also a reference to the Virgin Mary. The esteem with which these insects are regarded has roots in ancient beliefs.[9]

In Irish, the insect is called bóín Dé — or "God's little cow" and in Welsh, the term buwch goch gota is used, containing the word 'buwch' meaning "cow"; similarly, in Croatian it is called Božja ovčica ("God's little sheep") and in Romanian gărgăriţă, buburuză, vaca-Domnului ("Lord's cow"), boul Domnului ("Lord's oxen") or găina lui Dumnezeu ("God's hen")[10]. Moreover, in Romanian it is also called mărie, măriuţă or mămăruţă, terms derived from the personal name Mary[10] (cf. the Norwegian, German and Serbian names for the ladybug).

In France it is known as bête à bon Dieu, "the Good Lord's animal",[11] and in Russia, Божья коровка ("God's little cow"),[11] while in both Hebrew and Yiddish, it is called "Moshe Rabbenu's (i.e. Moses's) little cow" or "Moshe Rabbenu's little horse", apparently an adaptation of the Russian name, or sometimes "Little Messiah".[11]

In Iran, two Persian words are used; ﮐﻔﺶ ﺪوزک and ﭘﻴﻨﻪ ﺪﻮﺰ, both meaning "shoe cobbler". There is an old story about a woman who tells her husband upon his return from work that a "cobbler" spent the whole day with her and in fact sat on her lap. Hearing this, he flies in to a rage and kills his unfaithful wife. Just then, he notices a lady bird walking in the room and he cries out "Oh my God, that kind of cobbler".

In Greece, ladybirds are called πασχαλίτσα (paschalitsa), because they are found abundantly in Eastertime, along with paschalia, the Common Lilac plant, which flowers at the same time.

In Malta, the ladybird is called nannakola, and little children sing: Nannakola, mur l-iskola/Aqbad siġġu u ibda ogħla (Ladybird go to school, get a chair and start jumping).

In Turkey, ladybirds are called uğur böceği, literally meaning luck bug. When a ladybird lands on children, they wish something and sing Uç uç böceğim, annen sana terlik pabuç alacak (Fly fly my bug, your mother will buy you slippers and shoes).

In Finnish, ladybird is, for its blood red color, called leppäkerttu, translating to Blood Gertrud from the ancient Baltic-Finnic meaning blood or the word leppä (that means alder in modern Finnish)[12]. An alternative name is leppäpirkko. These differ by the female name at the end.

In Dutch, the ladybird is called lieveheersbeestje, translating to Our Dear Lord's little creature.

In France, ladybirds are considered to be bringers of good weather.

In Bulgarian, it is also called "bozha kravichka" (God's little cow) or, "kalinka" on the account of its red colour. Bold colors and simple shape—and its non-threatening nature—have led to use as a logo for a wide range of organizations and companies including these:

In addition, it has been chosen as

In music




  1. ^ Definition of lady cow, Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913), provided by, accessed 14 November 2008
  2. ^ Judy Allen & Tudor Humphries (2000). Are You A Ladybug?, Kingfisher, p. 30
  3. ^ Matthew Power, "Top Tech City: Minneapolis, MN", (, accessed April 19, 2008
  4. ^
  5. ^ A. Honek, Z. Martinkova & S. Pekar (2007). "Aggregation characteristics of three species of Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) at hibernation sites". European Journal of Entomology 104 (1): 51–56. 
  6. ^ J. Perry & B. Roitberg (2005). "Ladybird mothers mitigate offspring starvation risk by laying trophic eggs". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 58: 578–586. doi:10.1007/s00265-005-0947-1. 
  7. ^ University of Kentucky-College of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service
  8. ^ Lewie C. Roache (1960) Ladybug, Ladybug: What's in a Name? The Coleopterists Bulletin 14(1):21-25
  9. ^ "Bishop Barnaby". Notes and Queries 9. 1849-12-29. 
  10. ^ a b DEX Online
  11. ^ a b c Born to Kvetch, Michael Wex, St. Martin's Press, New York, 2005, ISBN 0-312-30741-1
  12. ^ Hendrik Relve (1997), Puiden juurilla, Gummerus Kirjapaino Oy, ISBN 951-796-070-0, p. 38.
  13. ^ logo
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Lady Bug article)

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Lady Bug
Box artwork for Lady Bug.
Developer(s) Universal
Publisher(s) Universal
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action
System(s) Arcade, Atari 2600, Intellivision, ColecoVision
Players 1-2
Lady Bug marquee

When Pac-Man arrived on the arcade scene, and literally took it over, the arcade industry stopped and took notice. So it wasn't long before imitations arrived on the scene. Three such imitations were Lock'n'Chase, Mouse Trap, and Lady Bug. Interestingly, all three games offer the player with a mechanism to alter the layout of the maze.

Lady Bug was an arcade game developed by Universal in 1981. While it borrowed heavily from the Pac-Man theme, it incorporated a few new ideas, more than most imitators. For one, the chasers and chasee were all insects, the protagonist being a ladybug. Next, not all of the maze walls are stationary. A good portion of the maze features turnstiles that can be swung about, providing you with escape routes from your would-be killers. And lastly, bonus items are scattered around the maze to spell out words like "SPECIAL" and "EXTRA" and increase the bonus multiplier.

Lady Bug had its share of fans, and so when Coleco was hunting for licenses that would compliment its ColecoVision system, they saw Lady Bug (as well as Mouse Trap) as good competition to Atari's Ms. Pac-Man. Coleco proceeded to develop and manufacture the game for their own system, as well as port it to Intellivision. While they advertised it in a catalog that listed forthcoming Atari 2600 games, Lady Bug never saw an official release. Until 2006, that is, when John W. Champeau of Champ Games programmed the game for the Atari 2600 from scratch, resulting in an outstanding conversion of a game that was almost lost to time.


Title screen.

In a world beneath man's notice, a war is being playing out in the gardens of every home; a survival of the fittest among all insect-kind. One Lady Bug is destined to outwit all of the others in a mad dash to claim all of the food in the garden before the other insects can get her. Will she be able to use the nature of the garden to outsmart her opponents, or will she end up as worm food. Only you can decide.

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