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What Do Ladybugs Eat?

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The charming little ladybug is a formidable predator. This carnivorous beetle has an incredible appetite for all the greenfly that fall under its mandibles.

Its diet is the same at the larval stage as at the adult stage. Besides, the ladybug is forward-looking and lays its eggs on stems where greenfly can be found. So its young can tuck in as soon as they hatch, and they are not likely to starve. Greenfly multiply at an incredible rate. It has been calculated that if the descendants of one female came to no harm they would, by the autumn add up to 200 tons of greenfly!
Thank goodness the ladybug's appetite saves us from such a catastrophe.

When insecticides are used to kill greenfly there is also the risk of killing their predators, and greenfly adapt to the poison quicker than ladybugs do.

Perhaps one day gardeners will buy a dozen ladybugs instead of an insecticide spray—some suppliers in the United States already advertise ladybugs for sale. In the long term this would be much more effective, since they reproduce and keep the greenfly population down to a reasonable level.

You could amuse yourself counting the spots on a ladybug's wing-cases. The number of spots tells you which species of ladybug it belongs to.

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