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Coming from the beetle family, ladybugs have several names, including “bête à bon Dieu” or “pernettes”. There are 6,000 species around the world.

Characteristics of ladybugs

Ladybugs generally have a half-sphere shaped body: flat below and round above. Often red, they have spots on their elytra, the number of which does not correspond to their age, but rather to the type of species to which they belong. Their short legs support their rounded body. On their head, they have two white spots on either side.

Being very small, they are also easy prey. Their color, commonly red, like the coccinella septempunctata, is a means of defense. However, they can also feature other colors such as yellow for example. This bright color warns predators that they are toxic.

Finally, ladybugs fly with thin and fragile wings folded and hidden under their elytra. They need a few seconds to unfold and fold them, because they are bigger than them.

In terms of food, ladybugs are polyphagous, that is to say:

phytophagous; aphidiphagous; coccidiphages.

It is thanks to this diversity of regime that they have been able to evolve successfully. These beetles are very fond of aphids and other small insects which they consume without damaging the plants. Ladybugs can eat up to 50 aphids per day.

They can now be found in garden centers or specialized stores to combat pests in the vegetable garden. Sometimes they are even sold by mail order, in boxes. They can be in the egg stage, larvae or adults.

The different species of ladybugs

There has been only one family of ladybugs since 2021. This is divided into 3 subfamilies, themselves divided into tribes:

the Microweiseinae (composed of 3 tribes); the Monocoryninae (grouped into a single tribe); the Coccinellinae (divided into 26 tribes).

However, depending on the species of ladybug, the diet varies, thus giving rise to a new classification into 6 families:

phytophages (subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata or the potato ladybug for example); mycophages (consume mushrooms); aleurodiphages (consume white flies); acariphages (consume mites); aphidiphages (such as coccinella septempunctata which consume aphids); coccidiphages (which eat mealybugs). The usefulness of ladybugs in the garden

A true ogre for aphids, ladybugs are the precious allies of gardeners, market gardeners and farmers. These little goddamn creatures are a 100% natural insecticide. The most common species is coccinella septempunctata. However, it is gradually being decimated by the Asian ladybug, considered invasive, although it is introduced by humans for biological control. Indeed, being wingless, it remains on the plant, but has naturally mutated and hunts and even eliminates its native counterparts.

They are sensitive to phytosanitary products, so it is not recommended to use them at the same time as a ladybug release, even if it is an organic or natural version.

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