Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Ladybug Tree
( Lessons on the Lifecycle of a Ladybug)

This Spring we seemed to have an abundance of ladybugs. I didn't think too much about it, but took the opportunity to photograph them whenever we found one.


There were so many ladybugs around that we even managed to gently catch a few to get a closer look at them. My kids thought it was great fun to let the ladybugs crawl around on their hands until they decided to fly away.


I even had an occasional ladybug fly through the air and land right on me!


I had tons of fun practicing my macro photography. I noticed that the ladybugs especially liked the tree in our front yard.




I didn't think anything of it until one day I noticed that there were lots of little yellow dots on the tree bark. I looked closer and discovered that they were actually eggs of some sort!


I was not particularly excited about having insect eggs on my tree! Eww! My son said he thought they were probably ladybug eggs since we had seen so many ladybugs around. So of course I googled it and found out that he was right! Our tree was covered with ladybug eggs!


Phew! I felt a little bit better once I knew that the eggs were from ladybugs. I know that ladybugs are a helpful insect because they eat aphids and other garden pests. 


There were little clusters of yellow eggs all over the tree. They were hidden down low in the rough bark and high up in the smooth branches.


Since we knew that the ladybugs were laying the eggs on the tree, we started to watch the ladybugs on the tree much more closely. Before too long we were able to observe ladybugs actually laying eggs!


It was actually really fascinating to watch. Ladybugs actually hold still when they are laying eggs, so it was much easier to get a great macro of them!


The ladybugs scamper around the tree, checking out different locations before finally stopping to lay their eggs. I don't know what exactly makes them choose a particular spot.


Different ladybugs chose completely different locations for their eggs.


I was watching the ladybug in the picture above when another ladybug came by and I actually managed to capture two ladybugs moms; one who had started laying her eggs and another who chose a spot a little further up the branch!


Pretty soon there were fewer ladybugs on the tree and we started to watch for the eggs to hatch. I had to go online to see what baby ladybugs look like. They are actually called larva and they look nothing like a ladybug to begin with. They start out really small and black.


I had a hard time getting a picture of any of the newly hatched larvae because they were so tiny and they don't hold still. Then I found this whole bunch of eggs that had all hatched at the same time. It was fascinating and kind of gross!


It is a little weird to me that the ladybug larvae look kind of like spiders. They are definitely not-so-cute at this stage! But they keep getting bigger, and we have found some recently that have little red spots on the sides.


But they are still kind of yucky-looking, don't you think? Who would guess that these are actually baby ladybugs?


The next stage in the ladybug life cycle is the pupal stage, which isn't pretty either. So far we haven't spotted any pupas anywhere, but it will probably happen sometime soon! I will have to add a picture of that to this post when we find one.

This whole experience has been very educational for my kids. It has been fun to show them the life cycle of a ladybug and learn a little bit in the process myself!


Ladybugs go through quite a metamorphosis, not too dissimilar from a butterfly. Although I don't particularly love the way the ladybug looks at all the stages of its life cycle, I still think they are really cool and beautiful insects.


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8 comments:

  1. That is so awesome!!! Who knew their eggs looked like that and then how they look when they are first born. This was such a cool post! I'll have to show my kids they will love it.

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  2. That is so cool. I have never paid attention to their eggs and what they look like when they are young. Very cool.

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  3. Did you know that many ladybirds (as we call them in Ireland) is called 'A lovleiness' :)
    Great post xx

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  4. Aww. Love your ladybug adventure.

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  5. I love this post! The pictures are absolutely beautiful. The babies look like ticks to me! ICK!
    In the winter our HOUSE was full of ladybugs. I don't mind them, even inside. They're just so cute.

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  6. This was a very educational post...I have never seen this before...Gods creatures big and small beautiful.

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  7. Wonderful shots! Ladybugs are so cute.

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  8. Beautiful shots of the lovely Ladybug :)

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