Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do NOT Kill Ladybug Larvae - Know What It Looks Like

This is the larvae of a ladybug on a leaf of a spirea bush. We have oodles of them all over our plants that normally attract aphids.  Each year we have more and more of these God-driven aphid eaters.

Many people have no idea when they spray their plants to kill these precious critters that they are killing their army of protection from aphids.  They are in this stage, growing from tiny to small, for about two weeks. One larvae will eat about 400 medium-size aphids during its development to the pupal stage.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Ladybug Larvae - Aphid Gobblers
Every year our spirea bushes begin to put on green and grow new shoots and get filled with aphids. Right behind all of that are these little critters that gobble up the aphids so they can grow into ladybugs, who will then lay eggs and begin the process all over again.

Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will come out and start looking for something to eat. They will look for tiny mites or aphids and they should find plenty because the mother found the perfect leaf to lay her eggs under because of the abundance of food for the larvae to find.

Newborn larvae look sort of like tiny alligators. After only a few days, the larvae will be large enough to begin to molt (shed their skin), and they keep molting for as long as they are growing. You can find the molted skins on leaves if you look very hard.

After a couple of weeks of growing, the larvae will start to change into something that looks like a shrimp. It will find a leaf to attach itself to and it will seem to fall asleep for a few days, but it is not sleeping at all. During the pupa stage, the larvae are going through a metamorphosis into a ladybug.

And we all know what ladybugs look like.


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1 comment:

Anchordaughter said...

My husband and I have schnauzers and had to take to the vet got two shots each. I believe it was caused by the Asian ladybug. Was eaten alive nothing but headache and pain and caused abrasions from being bitten.

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