When early summer and spring come, the air feels breezy and lots of beautiful insects are seen on gardens including ladybugs! This harmless and charming insect is indeed beautiful, isn’t it?
Still, what do ladybugs eat? Not many people know about it. The most common information is that ladybugs are considered predators. That means they would hunt other insects in gardens.
Gobble up (How They Do It)
Before talking about the types of foods that Ladybugs eat, it is better to learn their eating technique. This beautiful insect eats by absorbing their prey’s body fluids. Adult ladybirds can even eat up to fifty aphids a day!
1. Aphids are Their Favorite
Among other insects, aphids are the best food for ladybugs. These pests are quite troublesome for gardeners. Thus, the presence of lady beetles in gardens are beneficial, especially to get rid of those nuisances.
So, how ladybugs hunt aphids? This is the question. Commonly, female ladybirds would lay their eggs near the colony of aphids. However, this colony should be in the early stages only (having no wings).
Next, lady beetles would munch aphids comfortably. There is no need for trapping at all! What they need to do is to walk up at the aphid colony and gobble down.
As for other references, ladybugs eat other types of bugs and insects aside from aphids. These include leaf-hoppers, whiteflies, mealy bugs, spider mites, small arachnids, and much more.
Not many people know that ladybugs would eat larva and eggs of the like. That means they may cause a threat to their species.
The most aggressive one is Asian Lady Beetle or Harmonia axyridis. Some people also call them the Harlequin Ladybird, which can be found in Europe and North America.
Aggressive ladybugs have an insatiable appetite, too. No wonder, even researchers consider this species of ladybeetle as a threat to native ladybugs. Despite the fact, the Harlequin’s prime food is aphid!
So, why do they eat native ladybugs? The prime reason is that the supply is scarce or the colony of aphid reduces drastically. In this condition, they become cannibalistic and start eating their likes.
Simply said, once aphids are no more, the harlequin ladybug would perform cannibalistic behavior.
3. Some of them are Herbivores
Even though ladybugs are known as a carnivore, some of them also eat plants including fungus. For example, they would eat mildew called Psyllobora. Others also eat leaves as a snack!
Their habit in chewing leaves makes them a pest indeed. Have no worries. Not all species are like this.
Aside from mildew and leaves, some ladybirds also eat other plant-based materials like pollen, nectar, fungi, and cotton.
Read also : The wonderful ladybug life cycle
4. Eating Eggs
Many ladybugs eat eggs of other insects even of their likes. Other eggs that they eat are moths, butterflies, Colorado potato beetle, and corn borer.
Aside from eggs, they also eat the larva of maggots, butterfly caterpillar, moth caterpillar, nymphs, mites, and others.
5. Vegetables and Fruits are Alternatives
It is common to see some ladybugs eating fruits or veggies. The best options are bananas and raisins. This explains why they love non-acidic fruits and sweet vegetables.
Some other examples are figs, grapes, blackberries, figs, raspberries, blueberries, pears, peaches, cucumbers, nectarines, cherries, legumes, and plums. Somehow, they love honey, too.
Ladybugs’ Interesting Eating Behaviors
Based on research, a ladybug can consume up to a thousand of aphid or other insects all his life. This number is considered high despite the short lifespan, isn’t it?
As mentioned earlier, some species are herbivores like Epilachna admirabilis and Japanese Ladybirds. Once done eating greeneries, they often leave a trace on those. It is because they don’t eat veins.
Next, ladybugs live around the world regardless of the season. However, they would hibernate during the winter or cold season. During that long period, they won’t hunt or eating!
While hibernating, ladybirds would use food supplies stored in their body for surviving. As for the habitat, they usually live under barks, wood beams, and a pile of leaves (especially when sleeping through winter).
Read also : Get to know ladybugs foods
Ladybird’s Mouth Anatomy
Some people may wonder regarding the shape of ladybugs’ mouth. Well, they have a needle-like mouth, which is useful to absorb prey’s body fluids. They would use it for stabbing instead of biting.
With this mouth anatomy and eating behavior, they can absorb all types of body fluids including insects, fruits, vegetables, and even small animals like fishes!
Finally, what do ladybugs eat? This question won’t be any more after reading the information above. Ladybirds or ladybeetles’ favorite food is aphid, but they also eat other insects stated earlier.
Even though they are considered harmful, some of them are quite aggressive and would hunt other ladybugs for surviving (especially when the colony of aphids is running out).
They indeed live in 4 seasons, but they would hide and sleep during winter. In this case, they only depend on excessive food supplies in their body for enduring. What an interesting insect!