University of Florida


You may call them ladybirds, ladybugs, or even lady beetles. Not only does this family of beetles have an assortment of names, it is also made up of an array of different species. Additionally, many ladybugs are important predators, while some are considered pests. Learn more about ladybugs—a family of beetles that is as diverse as its names.

  • Ladybugs are the name for the Coccinellidae—a family of beetles that belong to the superfamily Cucujoidea.
  • These insects are known as ladybirds in England, which has been used to describe the Coccinella septempunctata (known as the seven-spotted lady beetle) for over 600 years. The name now refers to all species in the Coccinellidae family.
  • Ladybugs go through three immature stages before they become adults—eggs, larvae, and pupae.
  • Adult ladybirds are oval in shape, have wings, and range from about 1mm to more than 10 mm long.
  • There are almost 6,000 species of ladybirds throughout the world. These beetles can be many colors, including orange, red, brown, and black, and some species have spots while others don’t.  
  • Ninety-eight ladybug species are found in Florida. Some are native, while others arrived here and established populations. Some were deliberately introduced to the state, and some are immigrants that weren’t deliberately introduced.  
  • Adult ladybugs have the ability to reflex bleed, which allows them to secrete foul-smelling yellow blood that may contain toxins. This act is believed to be a defense mechanism to protect ladybugs from predators.
  • Many ladybugs are natural enemies to many pests such as aphids, which make them beneficial to farmers and gardeners. However, some ladybug species are pests as well.

Adapted and excerpted from:

J. H. Frank and R. F. Mizell, III, “Ladybirds, Ladybird beetles, Lady Beetles, Ladybugs of Florida, Coleoptera: Coccinellidae (EENY170),” UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department (rev. 09/2012).

H. A. Smith and J. L. Capinera, “Natural Enemies and Biological Control (ENY822),” UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department (rev. 03/2011).

Ladybugs,” UF/IFAS Gardening in a Minute (Accessed 01/2014).


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