The subject of popular children’s books and a universal sign of luck, lady beetles — also known as ladybugs — spend their lives in both adult and larval stages feeding on mites, aphids, other soft-bodied bugs and all the insect eggs they can find.
Every gardener has spotted the lady beetle’s cluster of bright yellow eggs on plant leaves and stems. Within a week the eggs hatch and the insatiable, horned and segmented larvae emerge seeking food. The larvae go through three molting stages and, depending on conditions, will pupate after three to four weeks. It’s another week before the adult emerges, ready to resume feeding.
Lady beetles (Hippodamia convergens) will generally go through one or two generations during a growing season, often synchronized with the advent of aphid infestations. Plants that provide the adults with a source of pollen and nectar will help encourage lady beetles to stay in your garden.