You may be wondering “what do ladybugs eat?” Ladybugs feed on a wide variety of small insects and insect eggs. Their favorite food is aphids, but they also eat small spiders, mealy bugs, and other insects and mites they can attack and subdue.
Ladybugs, also called ladybird beetles in Europe, are not bugs at all, but beetles. They belong to the Coccinellidae family. There are nearly 6,000 species of ladybugs in the world. There are about 450 species in North America.
Ladybugs primarily eat aphids, a type of small, wingless bugs. This is across species, habitats and locations. But with 450 species of ladybugs, there is some variation.There are some species that feed on pollen and nectar, and other species like the Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis) feed on plant parts like the stems.
Ladybugs are very effective predators. Ladybug larvae will eat about 400 medium-sized aphids before pupating. An adult ladybug feeds on about 300 medium-sized aphids before laying eggs. It eats three to four aphids for each egg it lays.
The lifecycle of a ladybug takes three to four weeks in warm months. In the cooler spring, it can take up to six weeks. Ladybugs lay eggs on a leaf close to a supply of aphids and other prey. The eggs are yellow and football-shaped.