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Squash Lady Beetle (Epilachna borealis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Squash Lady Beetle.

 Updated: 8/4/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The Squash Lady Beetle is one of the few Lady Beetles that eat plants instead of other insects, much to the dismay of gardeners.



Squash Lady Beetles feed on the leaves of plants in the squash family. This includes summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers. They also eat bean and pea plants, making them a nuisance in the garden. They are easy to identify if you are already familiar with the dome-like shape of other Lady Beetles. Squash Lady Beetles are yellow with black spots on both the elytra (wing covering) and the thorax. They are slightly larger than other, beneficial Lady Beetles. They may be mistaken for Spotted Cucumber Beetles because of the similar color and spots. (The body shape is different though: the Spotted Cucumber Beetle has a long, flat body.)

Larvae of the Squash Lady Beetle also feed on the plant, doubling the damage this insect produces. Yellow, oblong eggs are laid on the underside of leaves in clusters of 30-40. They look like regular, helpful lady beetle eggs. Larvae look like small yellow hedgehogs, covered in spiky black hairs. Friendly, beneficial Lady Beetle larvae are mostly black with black spines and look more like tiny alligators. Pupae of the Squash Lady Beetle are plump, yellow grubs that may secrete a chemical from their remaining black spines as a defense against predators. Larvae and pupae also eat the leaves of the plant, usually from the underside. This makes is difficult to see them when passing through the garden. The results of the trenching through the leaf tissue is a diminished transfer of nutrients to that part of the leaf. Skeletonized leaves, where only the thin veins of the leaf are visible, are an indication of their presence.

Squash Lady Beetles do not generally harm the fruit production of the plants they eat. Controlling their numbers can be done by hand-picking the adults off of the squash plants and killing them in a bucket of soapy water. Gardeners can also check the underside of leaves for the yellow egg clusters and rub these off when spotted, but be sure you actually have Squash Lady Beetles before doing so to prevent destroying the eggs of helpful lady beetles.





Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Coccinellidae
          Genus: Epilachna
            Species: borealis
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Epilachna borealis
Other Name(s): Squash Lady Bug, Squash Beetle
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 10mm (0.27in to 0.39in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow, black
Descriptors: harmful, spot, round, flying, dot
Territorial Map
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Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Beetle Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American Beetle insect
1
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
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Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
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Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
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Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
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Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
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Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
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Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.