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  • Squash Lady Beetle - (Epilachna borealis)

    Squash Lady Beetle - (Epilachna borealis)

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

    Staff Writer (8/4/2016): 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.

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    Details of the:
    Squash Lady Beetle

    Category: Beetle
    Common name: Squash Lady Beetle
    Scientific Name: Epilachna borealis
    Other Names: Squash Lady Bug, Squash Beetle

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Coleoptera
          Family: Coccinellidae
           Genus: Epilachna
            Species: borealis

    Size (Adult, Length): 7mm to 10mm (0.28in to 0.39in)

    Identifying Colors: yellow, black

    Additional Descriptors: harmful, spot, round, flying, dot

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; 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; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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