Ladybirds are always popular for their brightly coloured appearance and are also very welcome as a pest controller in the garden. They have a particular liking for green fly etc (Aphids) In the Middle Ages it was associated with the Virgin Mary and called "the beetle of Our Lady" all our present names for this beastie ladybird, ladybug, ladybeetle, are derived from this medieval title.

The colouration of the insect is a warning to predators that they are not a tasty mouthful. If you pick a ladybird up, sometimes it will exude a few drops of a yellowish strong smelling liquid, which is actually blood, it stains the hand and smells pungent for quite some time. This is an example of "Reflux Bleeding" and is designed to alarm and warn off enemies. Occasionally ladybirds will actually bite and they are quite capable of giving a sharp nip.

There are 45 different species of ladybirds in the British Isles. Apart from their colour they have other diferences which seperate the species such as; clubbed antennae, 3 jointed feet, but there is one exception, they are all carnivorous. The only exception to this rule is the 24 spot ladybird which eats clover leaves.

© Stuart M Bennett 2009