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Fast Facts: Lady beetles

What you probably call a ladybug would more appropriately be called a lady beetle. Why? Because ladybugs are really beetles, not bugs. Bugs and beetles are separate orders of insects, so it is more scientifically accurate to call these spotted insects lady beetles.

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Many different species of lady beetles live in Illinois, including both native and non-native species. Native lady beetles are beneficial because they eat garden pests like aphids. Non-native lady beetles can be invasive and aggressive, sometimes even biting. The lady beetles we see around our homes in the fall are most likely non-native multicolored Asian lady beetles.

The most iconic feature of lady beetles is, of course, their spots. The number of spots can vary, and some may not have any spots at all. Some species of lady beetles are named for their spots, like the seven-spotted lady beetle and the nine-spotted lady beetle. And despite the name, not all lady beetles are female.


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