The Evil Ladybug, by Megan Burnett
Let’s first get one thing straight. To the right is a picture of a ladybug, and below is a picture of the ladybug’s larva. The shells of ladybugs are red in color with three black spots in each and one spot being on the junction of both, bring it to the total of seven spots.
Ladybugs can be found in any area that aphids can be found. Both the ladybugs and their larvae are predators to aphids. Ladybugs have been introduced to help control and deplete the always growing aphid population. In North America, the ladybug has even become the state insect in: Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Tennessee.
Now the insect in the pictures to the left is not a ladybug. It has many names such as Harlequin Ladybug, Halloween Lady Beetle, and the most common name would be Asian Lady Beetle. The Asian Lady Beetle is usually in the color range of orange to yellow to even black, with as many as twenty-two spots. It is native to Eastern Asia, but has been introduced to North America and most of Europe.
They are known to live in swarms, and during the cooler months will often sneak into homes. Even after being removed, they will come back from where they were removed. They are known to be aggressive and to bite, as well as to secrete a chemical from their body that can cause an allergic reaction in some cases. Areas that the Asian Lady Beetle has been introduced to have had problems with the decline of native insects, due to the fact that the indigenous insects have a hard time competing with the foreign beetles.
Due to the aggressive nature of the beetle and its similarity to the ladybug, it has often been mistaken for the ladybug. This has unfortunately given the ladybug a bad reputation. Not only this, but it also creates a lot of competition for food. Asian Lady Beetles can often be recognized by the black “M” shape on their head. So, all in all, be weary of what you think is just a common ladybug.