In my years on Master Gardener hot lines, I saw a lot of creepy insects. This little gal made an appearance every few years. She would have been a more frequent visitor, but she’s a fast mover. The first time I saw her, I was a bit put off. But it didn’t take long to find out that she’s one of the good guys. This is the nymph stage of the lady beetle or ladybug. It’s a wonder we don’t see them more often.
Where do the Lady Beetles Go?
The beetles spend the winter hiding out undercover of things like tree bark and house shingles. You’ve probably seen them trying to come indoors for the winter. They emerge early in the spring and start laying their eggs almost immediately. Over a 2 month period, one lady beetle can lay up to 1,000 eggs. Seriously, why don’t we see more lady beetles around?
Are the Nymphs Good Guys or Bad Guys?
When the eggs hatch, the nymphs come out hungry. Like their parents, the nymphs love aphids and will gobble hundreds of them before it pupates. Unfortunately they are only around for about 3 weeks, but we can hope they’ll stick around as adults. A single lady beetles will feast on over 5,000 aphids during the course of its lifetime. If you don’t have aphids in your garden, don’t worry. They also eat thrips, whitefly pupa, scale and spider mites. Surely you have something that might tempt them.