Worldwide in most temperate climates
The exact colour of ladybird adults varies with species, but most forms found in gardens are red to reddish-orange with black dots. The number of dots varies with species, and ranges from 7 to 22. Adult ladybirds vary in size from 1-18mm long, depending on species. Ladybird larvae look like tiny black or grey crocodiles with orange or yellow markings. They have three pairs of stout legs at the head end.
Most species of ladybirds (both larvae and adults) are extremely effective predators of aphids and can keep infestations under control on a wide range of garden plants and trees. They will also help to control other plant pests such as mealybug, whitefly and scale insects. Some species of ladybird will feed specifically on these other sap-sucking pests.
Food and Habitat:
Both adults and larvae feed mostly on aphids, although some species will also feed on mealybug, whitefly and scale insects. They can be found anywhere that aphids appear. They prefer areas that are sheltered from rain and high winds. During the winter months, ladybirds often overwinter in groups inside unheated buildings, lofts, under bark and within crevices in walls.
Tolerate small aphid outbreaks in spring to help support a thriving summer population of ladybirds. If no aphids are present, ladybirds will fly away in search of a more promising food supply. Do not use insecticidal soaps or other natural pesticides on plants that have attracted the attention of ladybirds. Gardens that provide shelter from rain, frosts and wind, and include a diversity of shrubs, trees and garden plants will help to encourage ladybirds to stick around. They especially like log piles.