by Daisy

Our yard and garden has been crawling with these tiny, alligator-y, black and orange critters.

Do you know what they are?


How about this?


How about now?

IMG_0865The first photo is the larval stage of the lady beetle.

The second pic shows the pupa of the same.

Of course, in the third shot, we all recognize the adult.

Just a reminder not to panic (or smoosh or spray) when you see the first or second phase of this incredible, beneficial insect! An adult can eat up to 2,500 aphids in its lifespan.  Nice.


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah May 13, 2013 at 7:25 am

Thanks for the pictures! I never knew what they looked like in the first two stages. They are indeed garden friendly insects.

Katie Homemaker May 13, 2013 at 11:39 am

That first picture is the stage we received in the mail a few years ago to put in our “Ladybug Land” habitat for our younger daughter who loves all insects. It was kinda freaky, like getting a bunch of squiggling fake eyelashes in the mail! They are truly fascinating little creatures, in addition to being beneficial in the garden!

Daisy May 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Katie Homemaker–I love your description of the squiggling fake eyelashes! So true!

Katie @ Horrific Knits May 14, 2013 at 8:35 am

Those are so strange! I had no idea that’s what they looked like in their first two stages.

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theresa May 15, 2013 at 6:33 am

thanks for this post. I always worry that people squash first, and ask questions later, this is a great post for checking it out first. Those little ‘alligators’ are so cute and HUNGRY! hooray for us.

Lara May 15, 2013 at 6:54 am

I see the “alligator” stage all the time, I didn’t know that they were ladybugs.

Lisa May 15, 2013 at 8:45 am

We used to have a lot of the alligators on a plum tree, and thankfully knew what they were. They look “bad.” We had one of those ladybug habitats too, but ours leaked, and there were ladybugs all over the kitchen!

I just noticed a lot of ladybugs in my backyard yesterday. Different kinds and sizes, which is new to me. I will have to look them up.

Bicks May 15, 2013 at 11:16 pm

I didn’t even know they had “stages” – guess I just thought they came as “ladies” – who knew….

Ashley May 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

It is funny that you bring this up, as no less than a month ago my mom, who had been spending time at a ranch, called to tell me that she had just learned that the funny, scaly, black and red little bugs turned into lady bugs! And then I tried to tell my husband, and he could not get what I was talking about….so now I can show him!

And speaking of my husband, he called me yesterday to boast that he bought us a new book called Little House in the Suburbs! I was pretty excited on 2 levels – one because I love this blog and was happy to have the book finally, and two because my hubby decided to get it for the library on his own free will! Yay! 🙂

Daisy May 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Ashley–Glad to be helpful! I’m tickled you got the book. Love it. Thank you and thank your hubby, too!

Dianne May 18, 2013 at 9:39 am

I, too, thank you for the photos….I had no idea these cute little critters looked like the first two pictures! I am afraid I have “done away” with a few that looked like the first photo….but I won’t anymore….thank you so much for your informative blog!

Hannah May 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm

If you are interested in ladybugs, you might like the Lost Ladybug Project, which was created by Cornell University. You can send them photos of the ladybugs in your garden, and they collect data. I’ve been participating for two years. It’s a great project for kids, too.

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