Convergent Ladybug Beetle

Hippodamia convergens

Copyright, Marlin E. Rice

While there are many species of "Ladybugs," the Convergent Ladybug Beetle is the most common. Sometimes called a "Ladybird Beetle," this insect is easy to recognize.

The Convergent Ladybug Beetle is usually between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch long. Its coloration behind its head is black and white. The wings, called elytra, are red or orange with 13 black spots. Its body is very rounded.

Convergent Ladybug Beetles are found just about anywhere, including forests, fields, and gardens.

Copyright, Albert P. Bekker, California Academy of Sciences

Convergent Ladybug Beetles eat small insects and arthropods with soft bodies. Their two most common victims are aphids and scale insects. They will sometimes drink nectar from flowers.

This beetle will lay its eggs on a leaf or stem near food insects. The small yellow eggs (about 1mm long) will hatch into larvae.

Convergent Ladybug Beetle larvae are black with orange spots. They immediately begin feeding on insects.

Jack Kelly Clark, Statewide IPM Program, University of California

The larvae will continue to eat molting (shedding skin) and growing larger. They will finally enter a pupa (resting) stage, by forming a round, spiky coccoon. They will stay in this stage for up to twelve days, depending on the weather.

Adult Convergent Ladybug Beetles will emerge and continue preying on insects.

A female ladybug will lay up to 500 eggs in her life, usually laying a cluster of up to 30 eggs at a time. The entire lifespan of this beetle is a few months. Many generations of beetles will be born in a year if there is a large food supply.

Convergent Ladybug Beetles will hibernate in the winter. They form huge masses of beetles and spend the winter together under branches or rocks. They sometimes enter homes, but do little harm.

This beetle has few predators, because when attacked it releases a foul-tasting chemical from joints in its legs. A bird will try one, spit it out, and never mess with them again. Adults will also play dead. Larvae are preyed upon by the larvae of lacewing larvae, another predatory insect.

Convergent Ladybug Beetles can cause problems for dogwood trees. They carry a parasite fungus, which is transferred to the tree when the beetle lands on a leaf.

Copyright, James Solomon

Copyright, James Solomon

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Unidentified Ladybug's Head Under a Microscope
Link to Image
Uglybug.org

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Giant Willow Aphid

Green Lacewing

Black Cherry

Black Cherry

Oystershell Scale

American Toad

Japanese Honeysuckle

Flowering Dogwood Pa

Maple Gall Mite

Ring-legged Earwig

Common Mullein

Queen Anne's Lace FP

Chigger

Relationship to Humans:

Convergent Ladybug Beetles are a great help to people. They eat tons of aphids and other pest insects which destroy our crops, trees, and garden plants. There are many companies that even sell ladybugs to use as pest control. Ladybugs are totally harmless to people, though they can be annoying if many of them decide to hibernate in your home. If this happens, just gently sweep them out; they will find a new place to rest.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Arthropod
CLASS
Insect
ORDER
Coleoptera
FAMILY
Coccinellidae
GENUS
Hippodamia
SPECIES
Hippodamia convergens

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