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The Ladybird - also known as ‘ladybug’ and ‘lady beetle’ – are technically beetles from Coccinellidae.
There are around 6000 species worldwide, but a recent survey has found around 26 recognisable species in the UK.
Colourways vary between yellow, orange and red, with black spots on their wings.
Generally, ladybirds are considered beneficial as they feed on aphids and other garden pests. However, some subspecies are plant eaters and can destroy crops.
Their Latin name ‘Coccinellidae is derived from ‘coccineus’, which means ‘scarlet’.
They are considered lucky in many cultures and have many poems and stories written about them – and indeed a whole book company named after them. For example, they are called the ‘good luck bug’ in Turkey, and if you see one, you should make a wish.
Ladybirds seldom bite people, but they can secrete a yellow fluid – this is a natural defence designed to stop birds from eating them. Unfortunately, this fluid is pungent and acidic with a terrible taste – birds will be put off trying ladybirds twice!
Ladybirds cannot sting.
Ladybirds hibernate in the winter, different species in different places, but common spots are in trees, under tree bark etc. They will gather in large groups when looking for a suitable place to hibernate and can become a nuisance due to their sheer numbers.