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"Ladybugs" familiar beneficial insect

By Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension

Lady beetles, aka "ladybugs," are the most familiar of Colorado's beneficial insects. Among the several dozen species in the state, is the "new kid on the block," a seven-spotted lady beetle, dubbed C-7. Introduced in the early 1980s, it now is widely established.

All lady beetles feed on insects, insect eggs, spider mites or other arthropods except the Mexican bean beetle. This "bad apple" of the lady beetle family eats bean leaves.

Developing lady beetle larvae sport a voracious appetite consuming more than 150 aphids daily, while adults eat about 50.

Some lady beetles head for the hills in the fall and gather by the millions in the mountains. They spend the winter under snow and move back to lower elevations in late spring.

Photo: Judy Sedbrook

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010