What Do Lady Bugs Eat?

Ladybugs, also called ladybird beetles, are prevalent and recognizable predators in plant matter. These animals can hang out in your yard or vegetable garden. Lady beetles are small, round red insects that can eat other insects, and most gardeners rely on them for pest control. 

This guide discusses food sources for ladybugs and how a few species eat. Furthermore, we’ll dive into how often they eat and if their eating habits harm the environment. Finally, you’ll learn what to feed ladybugs and if you can keep them as pets to improve your knowledge.

Food Sources for Ladybugs (Ladybird Beetles)

Aphids, whiteflies, fruit, scale insects, mites, and beans are primary sources for most ladybugs. Low acid fruits, zucchinis, honeydew, and squash, are other sources for these creatures. These creatures have various sources, and we dive into them below:

Ladybugs eat Aphids

Ladybugs eat AphidsAphids, also known as plant louse, are sap-sucking tiny insects. These bugs can transmit the virus and deform crops, flowers, buds, and leaves. In addition, aphids are rich in nutrients and eaten by ladybugs. 

Aphids feed on fruit, crops, and ladybugs devour them because they’re succulent. Ladybugs find aphids and other pests to stay hydrated. In addition, these creatures have an insatiable appetite and eat aphids, even in colder months. They consume these bugs because of their size and content, even in a deep sleep.

Whiteflies

These winged bugs have soft bodies similar to mealybugs and aphids but are not true flies. Whiteflies are significant pests in open-field farming and discharge honeydew in large amounts. 

Ladybug larvae are specialized predators of whiteflies and small insects for their health benefits. Ladybugs eat white flies because it keeps them nourished and hydrated.

Scale Insects

While these bugs are a menace to plants, they remain an ideal food source for ladybugs. Ladybugs find these insects and mealy bugs on agricultural plants by consuming houseplants, grass lawns, fruits, sugar cane, etc. Ladybugs are fond of eating them as a special treat because of their nutrients.

Mites

Most mites are small and live on plants, making them an ideal food source for ladybugs. The smell of spider mites drives ladybug larvae wild, and they take advantage of their small nature. Furthermore, these animals enjoy eating other bugs because they absorb the nutrients they eat from plants.

Lady beetles Eat Eggs, Nymphs, and Larvae

Lady beetles Eat EggsNewly hatched larvae, nymphs, and eggs are accessible meal sources for these creatures. Ladybugs hatch and suck eggs when they need a meal and even eat plants. While ladybugs are ideal for pest control, they eat eggs to disrupt pests’ lifecycle. These creatures bite through soft eggs and consume the nutrients of other small insects.

How do ladybugs eat?

Ladybug species or larvae hatch are sensitive bugs that enjoy feasting on tiny sap-sucking plant pests. While small insects have no teeth but can bite, they feed on bugs with soft bodies. However, these predators have chewing mouthparts, also known as mandibles.

The chewing mouth has maxillary palps for tasting and feeling with a lip and chewing mandibles. While the mandibles are small compared to humans, they consume bodies and keep the insect alive. Furthermore, these bugs with black spots sense and find their meal with the antennae and devour without mercy.

How often do ladybugs eat?

These creatures eat a lot for their size. Adult ladybugs eat until they get satisfied before embarking on other activities. A ladybug adult can eat all day and down over 50 aphids daily when in desperate need of a meal.

Consider getting enough meal sources if you’re taking care of many for satisfaction. You may not keep these creatures for more than a week or two if you don’t feed them aphids.  

Even baby ladybugs can consume over 350 to 400 aphids in two weeks. Besides, you can feed ladybugs once or twice daily to avoid overfeeding.

Can ladybug eating habits harm the environment?

Ladybug eating habits do not harm the environment because these creatures help your garden grow. Introducing ladybugs is your solution if aphids, cabbage maggots, mites, whiteflies, or cutworms are eating up your plants.

Most farmers control pests by releasing ladybugs in large populations. Furthermore, these creatures eat insects eating your crops and non-crop plants to ensure adequate growth. In addition, ladybugs ensure herbivores’ ravages stay away from your garden.

What can I feed to a ladybug?

Ladybugs feed on honey, lettuce, and raisins in small amounts daily for a healthy life. Consider getting the raisins in water for a few minutes before serving them. The water softens the raisins enabling the ladybug’s chewing mouths to devour them quickly.

Furthermore, you can slice the lettuce into pieces, so these creatures have zero issues chewing. If you want to serve ladybugs honey, consider mixing it with water. Add three drops of water to the honey bottle cap before feeding ladybugs.

Another primary food to feed ladybugs is aphids because it keeps them satisfied. Therefore, consider purchasing some aphids to keep these insects happy.

Do ladybugs drink?

These insects drink water as part of their diet, but a little can douse their thirst for a few days. Ladybugs love drinking with aspects of their head like other animals. Most ladybugs do not need a traditional water source because they absorb adequate moisture from their meal. But they drink water when they cannot find a meal.

So, consider checking and changing the water after a few days to keep the insects healthy, even at the pupal stage. In addition, these creatures can easily drown in standing waters, even in a small pool, because of their tiny size. 

Can you keep a ladybug as a pet?

ladybug as a petLadybugs are easy to catch, quiet, and beautiful species with bright colors. These animals can make good pets as they take up only a little space. While these species are happy roaming free, you can keep a single ladybug or multiple as pets in your home. However, it would be best to have an enclosed container filled with rocks and sticks to create a natural environment for other ladybugs.

Consider getting enough water and aphids for daily feeding if you keep these species for an extended period. Then, they can consume the same foods without dismantling the bug box. But, then, it would be best to release these creatures into the wild, especially during the fall seasons. It helps them mate with other species for reproduction in the cold winter months and create a new generation.

How long will it live?

Ladybugs, also known as the Virgin Mary, can live for twelve months. While these creatures differ in species, some can live for 2 to 3 years. The lifespan of ladybugs depends on their meal supply, weather, and how they hibernate.

Conclusion

Aphids, whiteflies, and mites are ideal food sources that can keep ladybugs satisfied and happy. You need a cotton ball and damp paper towel if you want these yellow creatures basking in their habitat. However, not all ladybugs are females and lay eggs. Consider getting these meal sources in abundance if you want to keep these orange-colored insects as pets. 

If seven spotted ladybug and herbivores ravages eat up your crops and non-crop plants to prevent growth, get rid of them with ladybugs. Furthermore, these animals offer environmental advantages and are ideal for pest control.

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