Most people love ladybugs because they’re brightly colorful, pretty, and portrayed as sweet little creatures in children’s books. However, getting up close and personal with this little guy might give you a shock. There’s definitely a dark side to these seemingly sweet little bugs.
There are also different types of ladybugs, and some are much more fearsome than others. Some are sweet and cute, while others will bite you and harm your furry friends. Cute or creepy?
Let’s find out the answer below!
The Appearance of Ladybugs: Pretty or Putrid?
Ladybugs have an incredibly fascinating appearance. They come in a variety of colors, patterns, and even shapes! However, most of the time, we associate them with having an orange or red base covered in perfectly round black spots.
Though only tiny, these creatures are very easy to spot, even in the longest grass. Most of the time, ladybugs only grow to a few millimeters in length. Some ladybugs don’t look anything like what we usually associate the look of ladybugs with!
Many people see a ladybug and immediately call them cute, elegant, and beautiful. On the other hand, there are people who find ladybugs a little creepy and peculiar. Do you think they're creepy or cute?
You can decide that after reading this blog!
A Ladybug’s Colors Mean “Don’t Eat Me!”
Funnily enough, the color of a ladybug has absolutely nothing to do with aesthetics! These critters use their unique and bright colors to warn any potential attackers that they taste really bad and should be avoided. The bright colors and unique patterns are supposed to intimidate predators like birds, frogs, and smaller mammals.
If the bright colors of a ladybug aren’t enough to warn potential predators, they do have another interesting line of defense that can keep them safe. Known often as bleeding knees, when threatened by predators, ladybugs will secrete an oil from their knees. This liquid smells absolutely disgusting and deters predators from eating them.
The putrid alkaloid mix that they secrete repulses other animals to a hellish extent. Commonly, ladybugs will also choose to play dead to avoid being eaten. It seems that not only are they a little creepy, but they’re also incredibly smart!
Ladybugs Sometimes Resort to Cannibalism!
Add another line to the creepy tally. Did you know that ladybugs actually practice cannibalism? Sometimes, when food is scarce, ladybugs will begin to do some pretty odd things in order to stay alive.
Yes, this even includes eating each other! We get it, it’s gross. But it’s also pretty fascinating.
A ladybug that is hungry will often eat anything with a soft texture, which can include a sibling or larvae. For example, recently molted larvae, eggs, or newly emerged adults will be soft enough for ladybugs to feast upon. Eggs provide ladybugs with fantastic amounts of protein when they are low on other protein sources.
Scientists have also come to the conclusion that ladybugs will lay eggs that are infertile in order to feed them to their young hatchlings. To increase the chance of survival, ladybugs will have infertile eggs when other food sources are sparse.
Ladybugs and Alligators Are More Alike Than You Think
If alligators and crocodiles creep you out, maybe it is best that you don’t look at ladybug larvae! Funnily enough, ladybug larvae very commonly resembles an alligator! Considering they are two entirely different species, that is hard to believe until you see the proof.
Ladybug larvae are essentially a shrunken-down version of alligators minus all of the terrifying teeth, scales, and claws. They portray pointed, distended abdomens, spiny bodies, and tiny little legs. During this stage of their life, they grow very quickly for around a month while consuming high amounts of protein from aphids.
Ladybugs Inhabit a Bug-Eat-Bug World
Aside from their color and size, given the information we’ve shared, ladybugs are looking less and less cute. This fact here only adds to the list of creepy things they do. For some reason, many people assume that ladybugs strictly have a plant-based diet.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many people welcome ladybugs willingly into their gardens because of how great they are for pest control! Ladybugs feed on a large amount of plant pests that work against a gardener’s best efforts.
In fact, a hungry ladybug has been known to take down more than 50 insects per day! Scientists estimate that ladybugs will consume around 5,000 aphids during their average life span of only one year.
Entomophobia: Are You Afraid of Lady Bugs?
If you’ve developed a slight fear of ladybugs after reading this blog or you were scared of them before, you likely have something that the experts call “entomophobia.” Many people actually suffer from this. It is an irrational fear of insects that can make the sufferer prone to discomfort, panic attacks, and anxiety when thinking of or being near an insect.
While this probably doesn’t make it any better, ladybugs don’t actually hurt people. In fact, they have a huge variety of benefits in this world! Without them, some farmers would have problems maintaining their crops and fighting aphids.