The life-cycle of the ladybird, like many other beetles, has 4 stages.  The chart below shows to which stage of development the ladybird is at each month of the year.

Ladybird Lifecycle ChartClick image to enlarge

Once the adults have woken from their winter sleep, they head off in search of their favourite food to re-energise, the aphid, although they do eat other scale insects.  A few species also eat plants and some even specialise in mildew and others in fungi.  

They feed until around May, which is the time of year that they head off to find a mate.

The female will lay around 40 eggs per batch, and they will be laid where the food source is most plentiful.  It takes around a month for the larvae to hatch, which is usually about June.  Once hatched, they begin to feed at a ferocious rate, devouring the aphids and helping gardeners and farmers alike, by killing a very annoying pest that ravages crops in orchards, fields, allotments and in the garden.  They are nature’s own effective form of pest control, and far less damaging than conventional poisonous chemicals.

Between four and ten days later, the new adult ladybirds emerge, and so begins the next session of feeding.  They will do this until the temperature starts to drop, and then they will head off to find a suitable place to hibernate.

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