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Ladybug

The ladybug is a common name for any species of brightly colored, polyphagous beetlesconstituting the family Coccinellidae, found in the Laurel Lake area. The beetle measures no less than 1/2 inches in maximum length. It has nearly a hemispherical body, rounded above and flat below, a small head, and short legs. The beetles are usually orange above, spotted with black, white, or yellow. A few species areblack, with or without spots. The larvae are also brilliantly colored, often blue, with stripes of orange, or black.

All the ladybug beetles, with the exception of the members of one vegetation eating genus, are called carnivores. In both the adult and larval stages they feed on insects harmful to man, such as aphids, scale insects, and flea lice. Because of the help ladybug beetles give farmers in destroying agricultural pests,the beetles were popularly regarded in the Middle Ages.

A common American species of a ladybug is Coccinella novemnotata, which is about 3/8 inches long. It is orange above and spotted with blacks. Adults of Adaliabipunctata often hibernate in houses during the winter.This beetle is about 1/4 inches long, and is orange above, with a single large black spot on each elytron.Hippodamia convergens is a western American species, the adults of which commonly swarm in large numbers in mountain peaks. These swarms are collected by the ton by western agricultural firms and are distributed to farmers for aphid control. Rodolia cardinals, an Australian species, has been imported into California to fight the cottony-cushion scale insect, which attacks citrus trees.

Following mating, lady beetles lay between 200 to more than 1000 eggs over a 1 to 3 month period. Eggs are usually deposited near prey in small clusters. Larvaegrow between 1 mm to 5-6 mm in length and may wander upto 12 meters seeking food. The larvae attaches themselvesto the undersides of leaves to pupate. The pupal stage lasts from 3 to 12 days.