Twice Stabbed Lady Beetle: Quick and Essential Facts for Bug Enthusiasts

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The twice-stabbed lady beetle is a fascinating little creature that you may have come across in your garden. These tiny beetles are black with two distinctive orange-red spots on their backs, hence the name “twice-stabbed.” As a beneficial insect, they play a vital role in maintaining the balance in your garden’s ecosystem.

You might be curious about the life cycle, feeding habits, and other interesting aspects of these beetles. They are considered beneficial insects, as they help control pests like aphids and scale insects. So, having them around your garden or plants can be a great advantage.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of twice-stabbed lady beetles and learn more about their fascinating lives. From their habitat preferences to their effectiveness as natural pest control agents – we’ll cover it all for you to better understand these unique insects and their benefits to your garden.

Identification and Characteristics

Appearance

The Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle (Chilocorus stigma) is a small black beetle in the family Coccinellidae, commonly known as Lady Beetles. Its name comes from the two distinctive orange-red colored spots on its back, giving it the appearance of being “twice-stabbed”. These beetles are predators of small, soft-bodied insects, like scale insects and aphids – making them beneficial insects for your garden.

Adult beetles are typically shiny black in color, with their two distinctive orange-red spots. Their size ranges from 4 to 7 mm long.

Classification

As part of the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Hexapoda, Class Insecta, and Order Coleoptera, the Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle belongs to the Suborder Polyphaga, Superfamily Coccinelloidea, and Subfamily Chilocorinae. Other closely related species include Coleomegilla maculata, Hyperaspis lateralis, and Harmonia axyridis, which also belong to the Coccinellidae family.

Here’s a summarized classification table for the Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle:

Category Name
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Hexapoda
Class Insecta
Order Coleoptera
Suborder Polyphaga
Superfamily Coccinelloidea
Family Coccinellidae
Subfamily Chilocorinae
Species Chilocorus stigma

Identifying the Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle can be done by looking for these characteristics:

  • Shiny black body with two orange-red spots
  • Size between 4 and 7 mm long
  • Predatory behavior, feeding on small insects like scale insects and aphids

Remember that there are over 5,000 species of lady beetles worldwide, so keep in mind that appearances can sometimes vary. The most important thing is to know the specific features of the Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle to distinguish it from other species.

Population and Habitat

Location

The twice-stabbed lady beetle (Chilocorus cacti) can be found throughout North America, ranging from the United States to Canada. They are widespread across various regions, including California, Florida, and the Sierra Nevada. In the United States, these beetles are particularly prevalent in forests, orchards, and citrus plantations.

Environmental Needs

Twice-stabbed lady beetles thrive in diverse habitats thanks to their ability to adapt to different environmental conditions. Some examples of the habitats that they can be found in include:

  • Forests, where they are attracted to trees and other vegetation
  • Orchards and citrus plantations, where they help control various pests
  • Gardens and flower beds, attracted by the rich biodiversity and presence of other insects

These beetles have a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels that they can tolerate, which contributes to their widespread distribution. However, they are still highly reliant on the presence of a rich food source, such as aphids and other small insects, in order to maintain their populations.

Remember to keep your garden or plantation’s environment suitable for the twice-stabbed lady beetle to encourage their presence, as they play an essential role in pest control. Overall, maintaining a balanced ecosystem with a variety of plants and other insects can help support thriving populations of twice-stabbed lady beetles in your area.

Behavior and Lifecycle

Food Intake

Twice-stabbed lady beetles primarily feed on scale insects, particularly Florida red scales, which can damage various plants in your garden. Both the larvae and adult beetles consume these pests, helping to keep your garden healthy. In addition, they may also feed on aphids, providing even more benefits to your garden ecosystem.

Life Stages

The life cycle of the twice-stabbed lady beetle consists of four stages:

  1. Eggs: Females lay their eggs near the colonies of scale insects to ensure a food source for the emerging larvae.
  2. Larvae: The lady beetle larvae are voracious predators, feeding on scale insects to fuel their growth and development.
  3. Pupae: After completing their larval stage, they will form pupae, which is a transitional stage in their development.
  4. Adults: Emerging as fully formed adult beetles, they continue their role as beneficial insects by feeding on scale insects and aphids.

The adult twice-stabbed lady beetle is easily identifiable by its black coloring and two red spots on its back. The larvae are also predatory, and both stages play a significant role in controlling scale insects in your garden.

Role in Nature

Twice-stabbed lady beetles are considered beneficial insects due to their role in controlling scale insect populations, which can damage garden plants. By preying on these pests, they help maintain a balance in the ecosystem and contribute to the overall health of your garden. The presence of these beetles can be a sign that your garden is supporting a diverse and balanced ecosystem. Remember that beneficial insects like twice-stabbed lady beetles can be an asset for maintaining the health of your garden, and it is essential to appreciate and encourage their presence.

Encounters and Impact

Significance to Humans

The Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle (Chilocorus cacti) is a beneficial insect for humans, especially gardeners and farmers. As a predator of small, soft-bodied insects such as aphids and scale insects, these beetles help control the populations of pests in gardens, farms, and greenhouses. With their shiny black color and two distinctive red spots on their wings, they are easily recognizable and can be a welcome sight in your garden.

Not only do you benefit from the presence of these beetles, but they also coexist with other lady beetle species found in North America, including the native Chilocorus orbus and the introduced species, Axion plagiatum. Together, these beetles play a vital role in maintaining balance in various ecosystems.

Conservation and Threats

Although they are beneficial insects, Lady Beetles face threats from various sources. One primary threat is the use of insecticides, which can negatively affect their populations. To conserve these valuable predators, it’s essential to use alternative pest control methods or choose insecticides with the least harmful impact on non-target species like the Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle.

Another factor affecting their population is the loss of habitat due to urbanization and agriculture. Lady beetles, including the Two-Stabbed Lady Beetle, rely on ground litter and vegetation for shelter and reproduction. Ensuring the existence of suitable habitats for these creatures can help maintain their population and ultimately benefit your garden.

By understanding the significance of the Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle and the threats they face, you can take actions to protect these helpful insects, which will ultimately contribute to the overall health and balance of your garden or agricultural landscape.

Resources for Further Information

Online Resources

To learn more about the twice-stabbed lady beetle, it’s recommended to visit the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) where you can search for scientific names and classifications. Another excellent online resource to explore is BugGuide.Net. Here, you can find images, classification, species information, and valuable insights on the biology and life cycle of these beetles.

Some other helpful online resources include:

Scientific Literature

If you’re interested in diving deep into scientific literature about the twice-stabbed lady beetle, get access to the published work titled “The Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) of America North of Mexico” by Robert D. Gordon. The article was published in the Journal of The New York Entomological Society, Vol. 93, No. 1. This comprehensive study will offer you extensive insights into the lady beetle’s taxonomy, biology, and behavior.

Additionally, make sure to explore related scientific publications to get a more rounded understanding. You can find other research works by looking into the explanation of names and see also sections in online resources like BugGuide.Net.

Remember to keep the information brief and split the text into shorter paragraphs for easier reading. Use tables, bullet points, and formatting tools when necessary to better convey information and help you understand the subject of twice-stabbed lady beetles. Exploring both online resources and scientific literature can provide a wealth of useful information about their ecology and importance in the environment.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Twice Stabbed Ladybird Beetles: feeding on Scale Insects on Bamboo

 

bamboo bugs
Saw these on a trip to Miami. One looks like some kind of ladybug.
Robbie

Hi again Robbie,
This is a Twice Stabbed Ladybird Beetle, Chilocorus stigma. Your wonderful photo shows three stages of its metamorphosis. From left to right are the adult, the pupa and the spiny larva. We found a photo on BugGuide, also from Florida, that shows the Twice Stabbed Ladybird feeding on Scale Insects that are feeding on bamboo. If you look closely, you can see the Scale Insects that resemble little bumps on the bamboo stalk.

Letter 2 – Twice Stabbed Lady Beetle

 

Subject: Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle?
Location: Urbana, IL USA
January 19, 2014 5:10 pm
Hello,
I found this little guy on one of my indoor orchid plants when I was watering them this morning. After looking online, I think it might be a “twice stabbed lady beetle,” which is a very purple-prose name. What do you all think? I have never seen a beetle like this before. It was about 4mm long.
Signature: C Westfall

Twice Stabbed Lady Beetle
Twice Stabbed Lady Beetle

Dear C Westfall,
We agree that this appears to be one of the Twice Stabbed Lady Beetles in the genus Chilocorus that are pictured on BugGuide.

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Lady Beetles

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