Ladybugs in the Limelight – Industrious Insects that Protect Gardens

Little ladybug on opening sunflower.

We interrupt this regularly scheduled programming to bring you… drum roll please, LADYBUGS! They are well deserving of some props among all the flower photos.

Bees and Butterflies tend to get most of the attention and justifiably so as prolific pollinators. However, this little industrious flying insect deserves its time in the spot light: They provide a serious service as garden protectors from nasty pests such as aphids! 

“The common ladybug or lady beetle is a great natural enemy of aphids and is often used as a biological control for this insect. According to some estimates, an adult ladybug can easily eat up to 50 aphids in just one day. Their larvae also feed on aphids and can eat their body weight in aphids per day as well”

Now if they don’t deserve some time in the limelight, I do not know what other beneficial insect does – say for bees and butterflies.

Ladybug Memories as a Little Kid

ladybug climbing up dried grass stem
Ladybug climbing up a stalk of dried ornamental grass.

I remember as a little kid gathering ladybugs at the beach.

Seems like an odd place to find them, but sometimes they’d be on the beach in droves. Often a bit water-logged down by the shoreline. I’d gather the little fellas in my metal watering can.

It’s a fond memory, but as a little kid I had no idea of the beneficial service they performed.

It also brings to memory the nursery rhyme: “Ladybug Ladybug fly away home”…

Fast forward to an adult and learning more about these little orange flying beetles. They are not only pretty with their bright orange bodies and black spots. But they help keep nefarious, sap-sucking garden pests at bay.

Keeping Garden Pests at Bay

two lad bugs on flower stem
Two Ladybugs tending to pests among little purple flowers.

Ladybugs are an inexpensive solution to warring garden pests and are far better for the environment than nasty chemical pesticides.

Better yet, these beneficial flying insects won’t hurt people, plants or pets. So they are a good sign to have them performing their services in your garden. Yay!

“A ladybug is a good sign in a garden because it can mean fewer problems from pests, particularly the dreaded aphids. … In addition to aphids, ladybugs also feed on other soft-bodied, plant-eating insects, including: Mites. Scales and Mealybugs.”

Apparently Ladybugs actually eat two things: insect pests AND pollen. They need both to survive and when these things are in abundance, ladybugs will happily relocate to your garden.
More Yay! 🙂

Ladybug on white yucca plant flowers.
An industrious ladybug scouring the yucca flowers for aphids.

Wandering around the gardens I frequent for flower photos, I’ve recently observed how aphids have completely taken over the newly blooming white yucca flowers.

For the record, we’re not talking of a few aphids here and there. We’re talking hundreds of aphids gathered and packed so tightly together that you cannot even see the stem of the flower. There are literally clusters upon clusters of aphids so that these flowers are decimated and wilted by this sad destruction. .

Needless to say, I’m NOT a fan of aphids with their nasty flower destroying nature So it brought me great joy to find this ladybug on patrol on these pretty yucca flowers

Finding Ladybugs Among My Flower Photos

I don’t generally seek out taking photos of ladybugs on flowers. They definitely have their own agenda. However. when they do make an appearance, these bright orange fellas can be hard to miss. The contrast of colors alone is striking!

Whether it’s hanging out on a little Bachelor Button about to open, nestled among the purple Allium, or meandering on showy Milkweed buds, it’s always a delight when I catch a photo of them among the flowers. Sometimes they can be moving rather quickly – focusing on their next meal. Other times they may just be hanging out or nibbling on some flower pollen. Regardless of what they may be doing, I truly enjoy the pleasure of photographing them. 🙂

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