02 September, 2009

(Very) young ladybird

Ladybirds are the good guys/girls in the garden. They eat aphids – up to 400 in a day.
If you don’t see ladybirds in your garden –remember, young and old, they are picky eaters. Like your child (was)? I only eat aphids. Aphids is all I eat. (Suspiciously) Is that an aphid? If it isn’t, I WON’T eat it! If you poison all the aphids, then the ladybirds will either starve to death, or go next door to your neighbour’s wildlife friendly garden. (Benign neglect will suit them too. A few aphid covered weeds?) Contain your soul in patience and put up with aphids, perhaps for a few weeks. They will only be on the roses while the stems are new and tender. As they harden up, the aphids will no longer be able to pierce them.

Baby ladybirds look like prehistoric caterpillars, with six legs, and “armour-plating”, but you can see the pattern coming.
And the teenagers make it quite clear – when I grow up I’m going to be a ladybird!

According to our insect book, the first ones to hatch, stay around and eat their unborn brothers and sisters.
Field guide to insects of South Africa, by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths, Alan Weaving. New edition 2004. Published by Struik
So next time you see a weird caterpillar looking thing amongst the aphids. Look again. A baby ladybird! Give him or her a chance to grow up, and devour your aphids.


  1. Great photos! Thanks, now I'll know which ones to save if I see one. My garden has no ladybirds, isn't that the saddest thing? In fact I havent seen any ladybirds anywhere near where I garden and it isn't because anyone is using pesticide on them.

  2. It's a shame that they look like bad-bugs when they're in other stages.

    We call them 'lady bugs' here in America. We have ZILLIONS of them in October and they get into the house via the attic vents. Outside during that time, they're very attracted to our sunny sides of the house and they'll cling there for days.

    Inside, they tend to be attracted to the inner parts of our windows, the higher the better. Some instinctively crawl to corners of our ceilings where they will stay until they die off.

  3. Hi Diana! Nice post! It's funny, but I just wrote a comment on another blog about ladybugs in my garden. Kind of. I bought a bunch of them, but they disappeared almost the next day.Ha! They didn't like my garden. Or me.

  4. I always think the babies look far more vicious than their parents. Always fascinating to see the same event in different parts of the world :-)

  5. Easygardener, glad to see the older posts are still of interest!


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

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