In pest control, it is not often we do not deal with lady bugs. These little crits increase controversy when the pesky omnivores is considered a great tool for aphids however after its NA introduction in 1916, the harlequin lady bug (Harmonia axyridis), has taken over North America as the most dominant species. It also reached the UK in 2004.
When eggs hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed and by the end of its three-to-six-week life, it may eat 5,000 aphids. There are about 5,000 different species of these insects, and not all of them have the same appetites. A few ladybugs prey not on plant-eaters but on plants. The Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle are destructive pests that prey upon the crops mentioned in their names.
“Dear Predator I taste awful.”
Their distinctive spots and colors are meant to make them unappealing to predators, and they can secrete a fluid from joints which gives them a foul taste. A threatened ladybug may both play dead and secrete the unappetizing substance to protect itself.