The New Student's Reference Work/Ladybird
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Lady′bird or Lady′bug is the common name for any one of a group of small beetles. They are rounded on the back and flat below. Their wing covers usually are marked with spots. As to colors, they generally are red or yellow with black spots, or black with white, red or yellow spots. Many ladybirds hibernate, a common one sometimes coming forth in a warm room in midwinter. The beetles are long-lived and very prolific, of much benefit to agriculturist and horticulturist. Their larvæ are of great service to hop-growers and fruit-farmers in destroying plant-lice and other injurious insects. Almost all the beetles as well as the larvæ feed upon plant-lice or aphids and upon scale insects. They frequently are found upon house-plants. The eggs are yellow, often deposited in a colony of plant-lice, upon which the larvæ begin to feed as soon as hatched. They are rather long, often spiny and spotted with bright colors. They run about freely on the foliage and devour great numbers of aphids, which are fixed by their beaks to the plants. The larva grows fast, changes its skin several times, when fullfed glues itself to a leaf; casting off the last larval skin the pupa is disclosed, hanging by its tail. In favorable circumstances the beetle is developed from the egg in about a month. There are two or more broods in a season. The ladybirds that feed upon scales are smaller than the other ladybirds, black in color, sometimes spotted with orange or red. Some years ago, when the white or fluted scale was such a fearful pest to fruit-growers on the Pacific coast, working especial ruin in orange and lemon orchards, the experiment was made of bringing in the Australian ladybird, which feeds upon fluted scales, with the result that in one year orchards were freed from the pest and verdure and bloom restored. To combat the San José scale the Asiatic ladybird has been brought into the country, the Asiatic species feeding voraciously upon this scale. See U. S. Department of Agriculture, Bulletin 18, New Series, Washington, 1898.