Historically, Lady Beetles, were recognized as a beneficial insect because of their diet. They are known to eat aphids, plant-killing insects, overall making them a welcome addition to a garden or farm. The entire family of beetles was therefore 'dedicated' to 'Our Lady' in appreciation for their aid in growing food. They are called ladybugs in the U.S. and ladybirds in the U.K.. Despite working wonders to clear pests from the garden, however, the exotic Asian Multicolored Lady Beetle has become somewhat of a pest itself.
This species of Lady Beetle is actually from China, Japan and eastern Russia. It is believed to have been introduced to North America in the late 1970s. This species is hardy and fecund, adapting to a variety of habitats and temperature ranges. Hence, it is beginning to replace the native North American species of lady beetles across the continent.
In addition to the loss of native strongholds, this species overwinters in clusters, usually in warm buildings (homes, offices), where a few can make their way in from the exterior walls into the building's interior. They emit a pungent odor (as a defense against predators) which, en masse, can create an unappealing smell in the area of the building where they congregate. They also bite.
Wingless larvae appear nothing like their smooth rounded adult forms. They are tubular like a small caterpillar and they have a fringe of spikes along the edge of the body as well as on top. Adults have shiny, rounded bodies and can be red, orange, brown or tan with a variety of black spots on them. Their coloration varies greatly between individuals. Spot patterns are also variable.
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