Where Do Ladybugs Live? How To Find Ladybugs Near You

If you are looking to introduce ladybugs in your garden, it’s important to know where to find them. But where do ladybugs live exactly? Do they make nests or just live in the open? Let us figure it out.

When it comes to beneficial insects or bugs to keep in your garden, ladybugs are one of the top choices. 

In case you plan to get some for your garden or as pets, you might be wondering where to find them. 

Thankfully, ladybugs are quite abundant, and you can find them almost all everywhere if you know where to look. 

In this article, we are going to help you figure out where these bugs are found and where you can collect them from.

Where Do Ladybugs Live

Where Do Ladybugs Live?

These beneficial insects are quite common, and wherever they go, they are almost always found in big numbers. Let’s dive into it and explore their usual habitats.

Geographical distribution

Firstly, you can find these beautiful red bugs almost all over the globe, with a few exceptions like deserts and polar regions. 

They were more common in Europe, Asia, and Africa in the past. In fact, the seven-spotted ladybug was introduced to North America from Europe as a form of pest control. 

Over the years, they have multiplied tremendously and spread far and wide across the Americas. 

While ladybugs can survive in both cold and warm climates (apart from the extremes), they’re more common in temperate regions.

Preferred habitat

Now comes the most important part – the preferred habitats of ladybug beetles. These are the places where you need to look when gathering ladybugs in the wild. 

Ladybugs feed primarily on soft-bodied insects such as aphids living on plants, which means you’re more likely to find them in places rich in vegetation. 

Where Do Ladybugs Live

Forests, gardens, and patches of weed often house these bugs. 

Apart from a good food source, ladybugs also need a source of water near their habitat. 

Some species of ladybugs even specialize in hunting pests that thrive on floating vegetation, such as lotus flowers.

Where Do Ladybugs Overwinter?

You’re less likely to come across ladybugs in the open during the cold months. Instead, you might find them huddled away in large groups, hiding in sheltered spaces. 

This is because they are cold-blooded insects and survive the winter by hibernating through it. They eat voraciously during the summer and build up fat reserves, much like polar bears.

As the cold begins to set in and the population of soft-bodied insects like aphids thins out, ladybugs seek out safe and warm places. 

When winter arrives, they move underneath tree barks, inside rock crevices, wall cracks, or even indoors to overwinter.

How To Identify Ladybugs?

You now know where to find ladybugs, but you also need to identify them when you do, right? 

This might sound like a no-brainer, considering you’re likely familiar with these bugs. After all, ladybugs are quite well-known for their beautiful dome-shaped red bodies and black spots. 

Almost anyone can identify a ladybug, or so it seems.

Where Do Ladybugs Live

The issue, however, is that the looks vary from one ladybug species to another, and the above description doesn’t apply to all ladybugs. 

Here’s everything you need to know about their appearance:

  • Color: As you’d expect, red ladybugs are the most common. The color may vary to orange or even yellow in some species. Other rarer colors include cream, tan, purple, and white.
  • Pattern: Not all ladybugs have black spots on their bodies – some species also have stripes instead. Among the spotted ladybugs, too, you can find ones with orange spots or black spots with white rings around them.
  • Shape: One of the key identifying features of adult ladybugs is their body shape. This more or less stays the same regardless of the species – all ladybugs have a round, dome-shaped body. It also helps distinguish native ladybugs from Asian ladybugs.

Make sure you don’t accidentally take home Asian ladybeetles instead of ladybugs. The former looks extremely similar to yellow ladybugs, except that they carry a W-shaped marl on the backs of their heads, and the body is slightly elongated. 

Although Asian lady beetles help get rid of aphids and other pests, too, they are notorious for being a huge nuisance for homeowners. 

Where Do Ladybugs Live

How To Attract More Ladybugs to Your Garden?

Attracting ladybugs naturally and getting them to come to your garden by themselves is far more effective than gathering them in the wild. 

They’ll be more likely to stick around when they come on their own accord, attracted by something they like. 

Here’s how you can draw more of these helpful bugs in your garden:

Decoy Plants

Remember, aphids are the favorite among the ladybug’s food sources. You may plant a decoy plant that attracts aphids, such as marigolds, nasturtiums, radishes, etc. The decoy plant will attract a large number of aphids, who, in turn, will attract the ladybugs.

Water

The ladybugs also need a water source to survive. A wet towel should suffice for this, but you can also use a shallow bowl filled with water. If you do the latter, place some small stones in the bowl up to the water’s surface so that the bugs don’t drown.

Where Do Ladybugs Live
Pupae of Lady Beetles

Mulch under groundcover Plants

Lastly, keep a patch of mulch stacked up or grow some groundcover plants like thyme, oregano, etc. This will provide ladybugs with the shelter they need.

Should You Buy Ladybugs if You Can’t Find Them?

Gathering ladybugs in the wild by yourself is not only free but also offers a fun and engaging activity amidst nature. 

However, if you’re having a hard time finding ladybugs in the wild, you might feel tempted to buy them. 

Like many common beneficial insects, ladybugs are available commercially at various bug stores, including specialized online retailers.

Well, regardless of how good an idea it might seem, I wouldn’t advise buying your ladybugs. 

Firstly, commercially traded ladybugs are seldom helpful in pest control as most of them fly off after eating only a few bugs. 

This is simply because they’re usually harvested during hibernation, and female ladybugs tend to migrate before they lay eggs.

Buying ladybugs will likely be a waste of money. If you can’t gather ladybugs in the wild or attract them to your garden, it’s best to try and get a different species of beneficial insects instead.

Where Do Ladybugs Live
Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle Pupa

Ladybug Alternatives for Pest Control

Can’t find any ladybugs where you live? Don’t sweat it – you can get other natural predators, as we mentioned just earlier. 

There are several other commonly available insects that prey on the same pests as ladybugs. Here are your best alternatives to ladybugs in the garden:

1.    Lacewings

These generalist predators are one of the best alternatives to ladybugs and prey on a similar range of pests. 

This includes aphids, thrips, whiteflies, mealybugs, mites, leafhoppers, caterpillars, and more. 

Among the different lacewing species, green lacewings are particularly effective and even feed on insect eggs in large numbers. 

Like ladybirds, their larvae have a huge appetite, too and can consume more than 200 insects a week. Besides being a great natural predator, lacewings also happen to be good pollinators.

2.    Aphid midges

If you’re specifically dealing with aphids, these insects can be of great help. As you might guess from their name, aphid midges and their larvae primarily specialize in hunting aphids. 

They prey on a vast range of aphid species, including the ones notorious for damaging crops, vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. 

With each adult female laying around 70 eggs, they also multiply quickly.

Where Do Ladybugs Live
Ten Spotted Lady Beetle

3.    Braconid wasps

Now, I know that wasps are scary, and you may not feel very comfortable about letting them hang around on your property. 

However, the ones in question are non-stinging species of wasps and effective natural predators. 

Braconid wasps are parasitoids – they lay their eggs in the bodies of insects like aphids, caterpillars, leaf miners, etc. 

Upon hatching, the wasp larvae begin feeding on the host insects and ultimately kill them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do ladybugs nest?

Ladybugs group up in large numbers when preparing to overwinter, forming a sort of colony. 
However, unlike many other insects that display such social behavior, they don’t build nests. They simply huddle up in safe places protected from the cold.

Do ladybugs lay eggs in houses?

In case a large bunch of ladybugs overwintering in your house worries you about a potential infestation, you may relax knowing that they don’t lay eggs in houses. 
Rather, ladybugs prefer to lay their eggs near aphid colonies, which are usually outdoors.

Where do ladybugs live in winter?

In winter, ladybugs hide in warm places, protected from disturbances and the cold weather outside. 
In the wild, they usually make use of crevices in rocks and tree barks. In human settlements, it’s not uncommon to find them overwintering inside wall cracks or even homes.

What are ladybirds attracted to?

Besides aphid colonies and other potential prey, ladybugs are also attracted to certain plants. 
If you’re trying to attract ladybirds, dahlias, calendula, tansies, cosmos, yarrow, marigold, and dandelion are some of the plants that you may use.

Wrap Up

Hopefully, you won’t have some trouble procuring adult beetles of this species now. It’d be even more effective if you could get them to lay eggs in your garden. 

Not only are ladybug larvae much more effective at killing aphids, but each female ladybug can also lay up to 300 eggs

This stage of the ladybug’s life cycle lasts only a couple of months, but it’s enough time for them to destroy aphid colonies. Thanks for reading, and I hope you found it interesting.

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