Latin name: Adalia bipunctata
Size: Approximately 5mms long
Distribution: Found throughout the U.K.
Months seen: March to October
Habitat: Fields, parks, gardens and woods.
Special features: Colours can vary greatly. Some specimens have black wing casings with red spots.
By introducing ladybirds from May onwards (temperature should be above 10°c / 50°f) you can increase the number of these beneficial insects in your garden. Each ladybird will eat approximately 5000 aphids and will soon produce ladybird larvae which in turn also eat aphids
The Coccinellidae is perhaps the best-known family among our native beetles (Coleoptera), because it contains the brightly coloured ladybirds. There are nearly 100 species of ladybirds found in Europe and about 40 of these are resident in the British Isles.
The commonest species in most localities are the two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata) and the larger seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata). The largest of the native British species is the eyed ladybird (Anatis ocellata), found in conifer forests and plantations. The black spots on the back of this species each have a distinct yellow boarder or halo, giving the appearance of 'eyes'. Hence its common name of eyed ladybird.
These, and many other ladybirds, are voracious predators, feeding in both larval and adult stages on aphids (greenfly), coccids (scale insects), mealybugs, whitefly and, occasionally, on other insect pests of garden and crop plants. Indeed, some predatory ladybirds, such as species of Cryptolaemus and Delphastus, are mass-reared on a commercial scale for use as biological control agents against mealybug and whitefly infestations in greenhouses.