The Little Ladies Proliferate This Year
We have a lot of Lady Bugs (Coleoptera Coccinellidae) this year. To be specific, they are Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles. I counted over a dozen of them on one of the roses and some more on the other roses in the garden. I also found egg sags and larvae under the leaves. This is a good sign for the garden since their primary food is aphids. The birds eat the aphids too but they also leave some damage on the rose buds from their sharp beaks. A lady bug just walks up and down the branches and leaves and chows down on aphids like a vacuum cleaner, no damage done in the process. They even eat while they’re mating…Ha.
Aside from the prolific number of them, I also found a strange lady bug…a jet black one among the orange. It has completely black wings with normal lady bug marks on the head. When I looked very closely, I still saw black lady bug spots faintly on the wings. It’s also aggressive. He pumped up and down on the leaf when I got the camera too close, fighting his own reflection in the lens.
According to the book Insects Their Natural History and Diversity by Stephen A. Marshall, it’s supposed to be a “Fifteen-spotted Lady Beetle” (Anatis labiculata), not a mutant as I first thought it was. I’m glad I have a new addition to the garden this year then.
Orange or black lady bugs, mutant or not, do not matter to me, they both work very hard on cleaning up the aphids that abound. I just hope the birds would leave them alone and go for the Japanese beetles instead.