Monday, May 24, 2010

Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home!

Look at this busy beetle I discovered while weeding a few days ago.  She was hard to keep up with, weaving her way back and forth, under and over, inside and out.  Apparently I disturbed her little domicile while pulling up some stragglers in my day lily bed.

Yes, I did my homework on ladybugs, and no, they are not 'bugs.' They ARE beetles. And of the 5,000 species worldwide, 400 species are found in North America alone.

I tried counting the spots on the beetle's back, but it was hard to get an accurate number.  I think there are seven, but in this picture I only see six. Apparently ladybugs can have two, seven, nine, eleven, thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen spots. Who would have guessed?

I kept expecting her to fly away, but she just kept roaming all around in the uprooted weeds.  No doubt I must have uprooted her little house. I'm sorry.

Ladybugs are very beneficial to gardeners, since they eat aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs, among other pests.  They live for about one year.  Incidentally, their color makes them safe from many predators, who mistakenly believe they may be poisonous.  If a ladybug is stressed, she will 'reflex bleed,' which is the release of a bad smelling orange chemical. This also repels predators.

 My camera is never far away. Were it not in my pocket I would have never had the joy of capturing pictures of this little insect. She was moving so fast at times she was literally a blur!

There are quite a few poems about ladybugs, but I like this one by Marie Fleming. It's titled 'Ladybug.'

Ladybugs all dressed in red
Strolling through the flowerbed.
If I were tiny just like you
I'd creep among the flowers too!

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