Ladybugs aren’t really bugs at all, they’re beetles! Europeans have called these dome-backed beetles by the name ladybirds, or ladybird beetles, for over 500 years. In America, the name ladybird was replaced by ladybug.
A ladybug’s bright colors warn predators to stay away. Like many other insects, ladybugs use aposematic coloration to signal their toxicity to would-be predators. Insect-eating birds and other animals learn to avoid meals that come in red and black, and are more likely to steer clear of a ladybug lunch.
Over its lifetime, a ladybug may consume as many as 5,000 aphids. Almost all ladybugs feed on soft-bodied insects, and serve as beneficial predators of plant pests. Gardeners welcome ladybugs with open arms, knowing they will munch on the most prolific plant pests. As larvae, ladybugs eat pests by the hundreds. A hungry ladybug adult can devour 50 aphids per day!