Ladybugs have wings, and they can fly, so you can hear them buzzing about. But do ladybugs make noise from their mouths, like humans? Let us see what we know.
Beautiful yet voracious predators, lady beetles are an interesting member of the insect world.
For nature lovers who love to explore and learn about different insect species, it’s only normal to get curious about these amazing beetles.
If you have decided to get some orange ladybugs for your garden, you might be wondering if it’s normal for ladybugs to make a lot of noise.
Well, ladybugs do make sounds, but most of them are inaudible to human ears. Read on to find out more.
Why Do Ladybugs Make a Sound When Flying?
Although you can’t hear the noises ladybugs make through their mouths, they also make an audible sound while flying.
Now, one might wonder why you can hear ladybugs only when they’re flying.
Here’s the thing – the sound made while flying is completely different from the inaudible sounds mentioned earlier.
It’s just the noise of the ladybug beetles flapping their wings as they fly. These tiny beetles flap their wings about 85 times a second, creating a buzzing noise (like a mosquito).
As you likely know, this isn’t exclusive just to ladybugs – a vast number of other insects make such buzzing noises while flying too.
How Many Wings Do Ladybugs Have?
A ladybug has four wings, although it can use only two of those for flight. Watch them unfurl their wings in the video below to see what we mean:
Like most beetles, common ladybugs have a set of hard and thickened forewings known as elytra.
These act as a shell, protecting the soft hindwings from damage and the ladybugs from dangers in general.
When it’s time to fly, an adult ladybug can hinge open its forewings to the sides and bring out the long hindwings.
It’s these hindwings that they flap at the rapid rate mentioned earlier to fly. At the end of the flight, ladybugs retract the hindwings back under the elytra.
What Other Insects Make Noises?
A variety of insects across different insect families are capable of creating noises. While some of them are audible to humans, many aren’t.
The list of insects that make audible sounds can go on and on, but here are some of the particularly noticeable ones:
It is probably one of the most familiar sounds that you might hear from insects. It’s the male cicadas that create the noise, and they do it by vibrating a special organ.
Crickets are known for their distinctive sound of chirping. They have a special structure on top of the wings known as a scraper. Rubbing the scrapers against each other is what creates the chirping sounds.
Flies and bees
Like ladybugs, flies and bees make buzzing noises using their wings or flight muscles too. However, their buzz is far louder and more prominent than that of a ladybug.
Apart from the scuttling noises from their movements, cockroaches can make hissing or chirping noises too. Besides they also tap their abdomens with their legs to create tapping sounds.
Beetles and moths
Different moths and beetles make noises too, but the methods vary from one species to another.
While some stridulate, others can use mouthparts or squirt liquids or gasses. The hawk moth is known to use both stridulation and the spraying method.
How Do Other Insects Make Sounds?
It’s quite common for insects to make sounds, but not every type of insect does it the same way.
While it’s impossible to cover all the sound-producing techniques in the insect world, the most common ones are:
- The use of special sound-generating organs.
- Stridulation – a technique where insects rub different body parts like their wings or legs to create noise.
- Tapping a substrate with their legs, heads, or other organs.
- Rubbing the mouthparts together to generate continuous sounds, or “songs”.
- The ejection of liquids and gasses creates whistling, squeaking, or popping sounds.
Some of these methods also double as defensive tactics. For instance, hawk moths can create a sound blanket around themselves to jam the sonars used by bats to locate their prey.
Can Insects Hear?
Although insects do not have ears, they’re still capable of hearing or at least sensing vibrations using other auditory organs.
The auditory organs differ from one species to another or even from larvae to adults in the same species.
For instance, caterpillars and other larvae have small, stiff hairs known as setae to sense vibrations.
Adult fruit flies and mosquitoes do the same using a group of sensory cells forming a receptor on the antennae, known as Johnston’s Organ. Some insect species even have tympanal organs, though the organ works a bit differently in insects than in humans.
Ladybugs Don’t Like Rock and Roll
This might sound a little odd and out of the blue, but it’s true. Various loud noises, including rock music, are a deterrent to ladybugs.
This was established in an experiment by scientist Brandon Barton at Mississippi State University.
An avid fan of heavy rock metal music, he decided to use ladybugs to test out a hypothesis about Rock and Roll not being noise pollution.
To carry out this experiment, Dr. Barton and his team took aphid-infested soybean plants and placed each soybean plant in a special growth chamber.
They now added ladybugs to all these chambers. While some of the chambers were left silent, they played loud music of different genres in each of the other chambers.
This included country music, rock music (AC/DC), folk music, etc., and urban sounds like machines and car horns in one of the chambers.
As it turned out, ladybugs in chambers with folk or country music at the most aphids, at par with the ones left in silence.
On the other hand, the ones made to listen to rock music and urban noises ate far less.
This proved that ladybugs deem loud rock and roll music and sound pollution, and it’s something to consider if you’re using ladybugs to protect your garden.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do ladybugs like loud noises?
No, ladybugs hate loud noises and consider them to be sound pollution.
Constant exposure to such noises, such as urban sounds and loud heavy metal music, makes them eat much less than usual.
If you’re using ladybugs for pest control, avoid playing such music at high volumes.
What attracts ladybugs in your room?
You might find ladybugs in your room during the winter months. To survive the cold weather, they seek shelter indoors for warmth.
If you have any houseplants in your room, the presence of ladybugs during the summer usually indicates that you have a pest infestation attracting the ladybugs.
What will ladybugs do to your house?
Don’t worry, ladybugs will do nothing to your house. They don’t cause any property damage or eat wood and fabric. The presence of hundreds or thousands of ladybugs might feel like a nuisance, but otherwise, they’re quite harmless.
What does a ladybug do when you scare it?
When threatened, ladybugs play dead by pulling up their legs like turtles.
Some species of ladybugs can also release a small amount of blood from their legs – an action known as reflex bleeding. Smelly and toxic, the blood helps ward off predators.
As you can see, there’s no need to worry about those colorful ladybugs making any noises except when flying.
Just take good care of your new pets, and they will thrive. Don’t forget to give them a peaceful environment free of loud rock music, regardless of the ladybug type.
Hopefully, this article has sated your curiosity about a ladybug’s ability to hear and create sounds.