Lady beetles have been a favourite of collectors and objects of interest for centuries because of their bright colours; often red or orange with black spots. Lady beetles are considered beneficial to gardens and crops because they feed on plant pests such as whiteflies, mites, and aphids. Their preference for aphids as well as their ability to consume large quantities of these insects has led to intentional releases of lady beetles as biological control agents.
Lady beetles have been a part of human culture for centuries. In Europe, Scandinavia, Germany and France the lady beetle is associated with the Virgin Mary. There are many superstitions surrounding lady beetles; in Vienna it is believed they have the ability to bring fine weather, in northern Germany they foretell the success of the harvest based on the number of spots the lady beetle has, in northern Europe it is lucky for a young girl to see a lady beetle, or have a lady beetle land on her because is foretells of the coming of her ‘sweetheart.’ It has even been claimed that lady beetles can cure measles, colic and toothaches.
The beetles that people generally call lady beetles are 1 of the 5 subfamilies of Coccinellidae. Within this subfamily there are 56 species of lady beetles in Canada, 24 of which are found in the Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia is home to 22 of these species. Of these 22 species, 17 are native to Canada; the remaining 5 are the result of accidental introductions.
Click on the links below or in the menu on the right to find out more about the following species:
- Sevenspotted Lady Beetle
- Variegated Lady Beetle
- Multicoloured Asian Lady Beetle
- Fourteenspotted Lady Beetle
- Elevenspotted Lady Beetle