There’s a huge ladybug comeback at Blair: Where are they from and why are they here?
During the warm temperature surge last Thursday and Friday, red and yellow spots have been whizzing around campus…not traffic lights, but ladybugs.
Often considered symbols of good luck, ladybugs come in many types and colors. Most well known is the American ladybug, which has seven spots on its red shell. Recently, the Asian lady beetle (also known as the orange ladybug) has been increasing rapidly in numbers, with around 19-spots on its shell. Besides the color and spot difference, the telltale sign between the two species is the pattern on its pronotum (the area between the head and body): the American ladybug has a plain black one with two tiny white circles, while the other has a classic “W” white pattern.
The name “ladybug” originates from European farmers who prayed to the Virgin Mary during food scarcities. As ladybugs feed on many harmful pests, like aphids, they helped take care of crops, thus affectionately named “beetle of our lady”, to “lady beetle” and “lady bug”. The intertwined story between the two went way back to the earliest days of agriculture.
In the fall, ladybugs come out occasionally to enjoy the warm day. At night, they try to escape the outdoor cold in every way possible to hibernate, such as in rotting logs, under rocks, and especially inside houses. Last week, the exact phenomenon happened: the ladybugs were nestling in the coziness of indoors as the sun set. Many Blair buildings, including the CEC, the dining hall, and dorms were filled with these tiny critters. Fortunately, they are completely harmless to humans and are only a sign of the last bit of warmth before winter. Hence, enjoy these colorful beetles around campus while they last!
Pamela-Anne. “What Ladybugs Eat! The Complete Ladybug Menu and Diet, a Guide.” Ladybug Planet, 2020, https://ladybugplanet.com/what-do-ladybugs-eat-in-the-wild-or-in-homes-a-helpful-guide/. Accessed 17 October. 2021.
National Geographic Kids. “Ladybug Facts and Photos.” Animals, Invertebrates, https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/facts/ladybug. Accessed 17 October. 2021.
Staff, Farmers’ Almanac, and Farmers’ Almanac Staffhttps://www.farmersalmanac.com/author/fa-admin. “Where Do All the Ladybugs Come from?” Farmers’ Almanac, 28 Jan. 2021, https://www.farmersalmanac.com/where-did-all-the-ladybugs-come-from-8235. Accessed 17 October. 2021.
(Copyright Chloe Lau 2021)