Friday, June 11, 2010

THE LADY BEETLE Harmonia axyridis

Gardening Friends

Early this spring of 2010 while weeding my yard, I noticed a large number of small alligator-like insects crawling all over the ground and plants. After taking photos of the creatures and "Goggling", I discovered that they were lady beetle larvae.

Lady beetles lay their eggs in small clusters on the protected surface of leaves and stems that are close to their food source of aphids. One Lady beetle may lay over 1,000 eggs during the three months in spring and early summer.

The larvae hatches from the egg by biting a hole in the surface. At this first stage, the larvae will have a gray elongated soft body, six legs and no wings. During the next three stages the larvae will continue to grow and shed the old skin, while it eats aphids and other garden pests. At the last and fourth stage, the larvae has almost reached the size of an adult beetle.
When it has eaten enough, it will attach itself to a substrate and molt into a pupa where it continues to develop into an adult lady beetle.

What an exciting and interesting photo-adventure this day has been.  I love it when I am drawn to an area and not knowing what to expect I get treated to new experiences. 

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