:: Using Ladybirds against Aphids

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The Ladybirds (Commonwealth English), also known as ladybugs (American English, Canadian English) or lady beetles (some scientists favor this) are a family, Coccinellidae ("little sphere"), of beetles; the name is thought to allude to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Catholic faith. Ladybirds are found worldwide, with over 4,500 species described, more than 450 native to North America alone. Ladybirds are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are usually yellow, orange, or red with small black spots on their carapace, and black legs, head and feelers. As the family name suggests, they are usually quite round in shape.

Because they are useful, colorful, and harmless to humans, ladybugs are typically considered cute even by people who hate most insects.

Ladybirds are beneficial to organic gardeners because most species are insectivores, consuming aphids, fruit flies, thrips, and other tiny plant-sucking insects that damage crops. In fact, their name is derived from "Beetle of Our Lady", recognizing their role in saving crops from destruction. Today they are commercially available from a variety of suppliers.

Adult ladybirds are able to reflex-bleed from their leg joints. The blood is yellow, with a strong repellent smell, and is quite obvious when one handles a ladybird roughly.

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