Convergent lady beetle (Hippodamia
The life span of the lady beetle is one year.
Eggs which are laid in the spring develop into darkish gray larvae with
orange spots. These soft-bodied, carrot-shaped, spiny larvae
appear quite unlike the round, hard-bodied adults, yet both have a
voracious appetite for aphids. It has been claimed that
convergent lady beetle is capable of eating more than 50 aphids a day
when actively feeding.
The pupa of H.
convergens, as is typical of coccinellids, does not spin a
cocoon, but is naked. It attaches to a leaf by cementing the tip
of its abdomen to the leaf. When disturbed, the pupa lifts its
body to a vertical position, then drops back again.
New adult beetles appear during the first week in
June. They are active crawlers and fliers and can disperse nearly
5 miles in as little as three days. Throughout spring and autumn,
adults are abundant in the fields. However, as winter approaches
they migrate to the mountains where they congregate in large numbers
prior to winter hibernation.
For about 9 months while in the mountains, the
adults do not feed but live off stored fat. The ability to
undergo long periods of fasting under cool temperatures has allowed man
to conveniently store H. convergens
under refrigeration (41 to 46 degrees F) for months.
Availability: These need to be
ordered and will be available after spring break.
Housing: You can rear your
ladybugs in a plastic or glass jar, or in a petri dish. Add a
piece of moist paper towel to the bottom of your container to keep
humidity up. Replace the paper towel piece whenever it dries
up. You should cover the container with a mesh screen lid to
allow air flow. Provide drinking water to your ladybugs by
soaking a cotton ball in water and placing in your container.
Give them leaves and twigs to climb on, and cover the bottom with sand
or dirt to support the twigs. You can feed them sugar as well by
placing a cotton ball soaked in a 10% sugar solution in the container
as well. They like to climb and hide, so you could add half a
paper cup, or part of an egg carton if you container is large enough.
Food: Ladybugs will eat
aphids. Moth eggs or a diet mix will also come with the order so
you may feed your
beetles on that if you are unable to locate a supply of aphids.