While raking up the leaves and fallen berries on my front lawn this past weekend, I was overrun – and I do mean overrun - by ladybugs. I thought all the little red things in the leaves were berries…but they were bugs!! I’ve never seen so many ladybugs at one time, there were literally swarms coming up off my lawn. Apparently I’ve been running a breeding ground and didn’t know it. It made me wonder – do ladybugs hibernate?
I took to the internet to answer my question, and came up with some very interesting ladybug facts:
- Ladybugs are not bugs at all, but a type of beetle.
- Ladybugs can live up to 3 years under the right conditions.
- The species of ladybugs that live in Canada can survive through harsh winter temperatures.
- Ladybugs do not bite, sting, infect food supplies, or transmit disease.
- Ladybugs taste terrible.
- Gardeners and farmers love ladybugs because they can eat thousands of other pesky bugs in their lifetime.
- During hibernation, ladybugs feed on their stored fat.
- The spots on a ladybug fade as the ladybug gets older.
- Ladybugs can secrete a fluid from joints in their legs, which gives them a foul taste. Their colouring is likely a reminder to any animals that their taste will be foul. A threatened ladybug may play dead and secrete the unappetizing substance to protect itself.
- Ladybugs chew from side to side and not up and down like people do.
- A ladybug beats its wings 85 times a second
- Ladybugs are not just “ladies” – there are plenty of male ladybugs too!
Ladybugs do in fact hibernate, and love to hide under fallen leaves and other “bush scraps.” I think the reason I had so many ladybugs is because there was a lot of scrap vegetation on the lawn, and then it got sealed in with a few feet of snow – that makes for a great protective insulation layer. With the nice warm temperatures this weekend, when I stirred up the leaves many of those ladybugs were likely stretching their wings for the first time this season.
Hopefully that means I’ll have a pest-free gardening season!