The ashy gray lady beetle is both stylish and deadly.
We’ve all seen the red-domed ladybugs of popular culture with their shiny black dots, but what about the black lady beetles with red dots?
There are four black lady beetles with red spots: twicestabbed lady beetles (Chilocorus orbus), Axion plagiatum, Chilocorus kuwanae, and the ashy gray (Olla v-nigrum). Unlike other lady beetles, however, the ashy gray has two forms, dark and tan. And they can change at will!
Ashy gray lady beetle description
Ashy gray lady beetles are sometimes ashy gray or tan, with black spots. At other times, they are black with red dots. Before they reach their domed adulthood, ashy gray lady beetles look more like tiny alligators with yellow spots. And before that, as pupae, they look like little orangish-yellow nubs. As eggs, they look like clusters of white or yellow, usually found on the underside of leaves, close to prey.
Ashy gray lady beetle prey
While ashy gray lady beetles feed on the eggs of butterflies and moths, the lion’s share of their diet consists of aphids and psyllids. Since aphids and psyllids are disease-carrying, plant-sucking pests, we can use all the lady beetles in the garden as we can get.
To attract ashy gray lady beetles and other beneficial insects to your yard, avoid using broad-spectrum pesticides, provide fresh, clean water, and install insectary plants, including dill, lavender, chives, mint, tansy, and yarrow.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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