Ladybug is popular among farmers, gardeners, and children. It is a voracious predator that can eat their prey a lot in a day. If you’re wondering what they eat, it is aphids, mites, and scales. All of those insects are pests that gardeners dislike.
So, this natural predator usually has a good relationship with the farmers or gardeners since they help them a lot. Some people even buy ladybug online to get rid of the pest and controlling the population in their garden.
Ladybug Larvae Look Like
With its benefit, knowing ladybug larvae anatomy or how it looks like is a must for gardeners. This information will help to distinguish which one is the ladybugs’ and which one is the harmful pests’. Thus, you won’t kill the wrong one.
If you know an alligator, you might be able to tell which larvae are ladybugs’. They’re quite similar. The difference is just the size. Ladybug larvae are extremely shorter than an alligator. They come in many different colors, forms, and shapes.
Since they came in many different appearances, it is usually hard to recognize them and makes people sometimes misjudge. But, most of them have a dark color with bright markings on the body. They have a black body with orange marking in general and three pairs of legs.
Ladybug Larvae Stages
As you know, there are four stages of the ladybug life cycle. Larvae stage is the second one, and it lasts for 20 to 30 days, depends on the vicinity temperature and other environmental variables. Once the egg hatch, a larva will come out and be in their first instar.
This moment is the phase where they suffer a high mortality rate. Once their cuticle hardens, ladybug larvae become a voracious predator that eats a lot of aphids and become larger day by day. When their cuticle is not able to accommodate their body anymore, they will molt.
Every time ladybug larvae molting their skin, they will enter a new developmental stage which we can call “instar”. Generally, ladybug larvae will go through four instar stages before entering the next stages called pupae.
Ladybug Larvae Food
Ladybug larvae eat the same thing as the adult one. They normally eat mealybugs, aphids, mites, and scale. Mother ladybug usually lays both her fertile and infertile eggs. The infertile one will become food supply for the fertile once their hatch.
So, ladybug larvae also eat their mother infertile eggs! They can even eat other ladybug larvae in a bad circumstance where the food supply is less or scarce. Most of them are a carnivore and they need to find food as soon as they hatch or in their first instar.
Otherwise, they won’t be able to survive and die. Ladybug larvae that feed their mother infertile eggs have a higher probability of survival than those who just feed aphids or other soft-bodied insects. This proves that eggs provide a lot of nutritional value.
As they grow bigger, their food preference will gradually change from anything that they get to aphids.
Is Ladybug Larvae Bite?
Yes, it is. Especially Asian ladybug (Harmonia axyridis), they can certainly bite. Their mandibles (part of their mouth) have the strength to bite and large enough to do so.
But you don’t need to worry if ladybug larvae bite you because their bite is not as painful as the sting of wasps or bees. Since ladybug doesn’t inject any toxins or venom, the pain caused by ladybug larvae generally will be short-lived.
Usually, it won’t injure human seriously and spread any allergies or disease too. Their bite is also infrequently felt. In case by accident you get bitten by ladybug larvae, you don’t need to panic and just wash the area where they have bitten.
But if you feel any serious symptoms after getting bitten by ladybug larvae, you can look for medical assistance.
White Ladybug Larvae
You might get it wrong sometimes when differentiating white ladybug larvae with mealybug since they are look alike. Due to this problem many white ladybug larvae or hyperaspis get killed unnecessarily every year whereas they are a beneficial insect for the gardener.
So knowing about the difference between both larvae might be a benefit for you. White ladybug larvae are waxy and small while mealybugs larvae are neater, flatter, and symmetrical. Both of them are covered by white wax. So it is a little bit tricky to differentiate them.
The easiest way to do so is by giving it a little poke. Ladybug larvae go away quickly when disturbed while mealybug generally moves slowly and will stay in one place.
White ladybug larvae wax coating is used as a defense weapon to reduce the chance of being eaten up by another insect.
Next time you see larvae in your garden, take a good look at them and make sure is it ladybug larvae or not. They are your allies so taking care of them is important and will help you a lot to protect your garden from the pest.