How Long Do Ladybugs Live?

Ladybugs are the cutest-looking and most fascinating insects in the world. It is very popular and is known for its beneficial aspects and harmless habits. These tiny creatures are often considered a sign of good luck and happiness. They have a very interesting way of life, features, and habits. If you are interested in how long ladybugs live or want to learn more about ladybugs, now is the time! Let’s find out more about these tiny ladies. 

How Long Do Ladybugs Live?

Ladybugs can live one year as adults, but before that, they go through larval and pupa stage, and these periods can be considered an additional time of their life. Unfortunately, the stages do not last long, only two months. There are four stages known as the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. And this process is called metamorphosis.

You may already know that many animals and giant bugs can be considered enemies of ladybugs. Maybe these ladies are very tiny, but they have a strong defensive mechanism that helps them protect themselves.

When they are threatened, they give off an unpleasant smell and warn other animals. And also, it may be a fun but true fact that when there are predators close to the ladybug, it fakes death and saves itself. Furthermore, winter has a very big effect on how long ladybugs live. During this season, they have the choice to hibernate. 

So, they seek places like rocks, tree bark, logs, and even houses. They collect as a group to stay warm during the winter.

Ladybugs belong to the family Coccinellidaeof the order Coleoptera, which is a group among beetles. Their common feature includes the oval-shaped structure of the body and a wide range of colors, in which they are found. Though they are commonly referred to as “bugs”, they are actually beetles, which have a characterized hardened shell known as “elytra”, and also it undergoes four stages of metamorphosis process like other beetles.

The life of a ladybug is very much similar to butterflies, as both undergo metamorphosis process to emerge as an adult. Their four stages of life are egg stage, larval stage, pupal stage and finally an adult beetle stage.

Egg Stage

Ladybug Eggs

Ladybug Eggs – Photo by: Gilles San Martin

The eggs of Ladybug are deposited on a leaf”s underside. It is mainly done to secure them from predator”s attack. Such a protected place also protects the eggs from harsh weather. A female ladybird often lays between ten and fifteen eggs in one location, which has enough supply of food, so that when the babies hatch out of the eggs, they can have plenty of food to consume. These eggs look similar to the yellow colored jelly beans, but those hatched earlier are tiny compared to the latter ones. They are so sensitive, that touching the eggs can kill the babies.

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Larvae Stage

Ladybug Hatching

Ladybug Hatching – Photo by: Gilles San Martin

The ladybug eggs hatch and the small insect emerges in the form of a larva. As soon as it comes out of the hatched egg, it starts searching for something to consume. Mainly, they will feed on tiny aphids or mites. Usually, they will find an abundance of food in their premise, as the ladybug will select only such locations to lay eggs, where the babies can find enough food.

The main reason to consume more food in this period is to make the color brighter. Studies reveal that the ladybugs that had plenty of food to consume in the initial stage tend to develop brighter colored bodies, which is a defense to warn the predators. The small larvae appear like a small alligator. After a few days of growth, the larvae start to shed their skin many times. Those molted skins of larvae can be found on the leaves of some trees or plants.

Pupa Stage

Ladybug Pupa

Ladybug Pupa – Photo by: Gilles San Martin

After a few weeks from emerging as a larva, it will start to transform into the shape of a shrimp, known as a pupa. At this time, the ladybug will attach itself to the under portion of a leaf, and stays in a dormant stage, which gives the impression of a sleeping pupa. But in reality, it is not sleeping; instead a great process of metamorphosis is taking place, in which the Pupa gets transformed into an adult ladybug.

Adult Ladybug Stage

Ladybug Emerging From Pupa

Ladybug Emerging from Pupa – Photo by: Katja Schulz

After the completion of the metamorphosis process, the skin of the pupa starts to split open, out of which, an adult ladybug emerges. But still, it won’t appear the same as we commonly find them in the garden or in nature. Initially, this insect will look pale with dull colored body and soft shell. But, within few hours, the shells of these ladybugs harden and their body color starts to grow brighter.

How Long Do Ladybugs Live In Winter?

Our main question is how long do ladybugs live? Before we talk about it, we have to find out how they can live and survive in the winter. As we already know, the season of winter can shorten a ladybug’s life span. When the temperature goes down to 50 degrees, they don’t have a desire to fly. Instead of this, they chose to go into hibernation and sleep. 

During the hibernation period, they use food substances and store fat that they saved during the summer. In urban areas, they choose to go to human houses and live there until the spring. They like a warm and comfortable environment, and houses are the right place where they can find shelter to survive. You will find them near the windows and close to the corners of the house.

Why Do Ladybugs Hibernate in Houses?

On cold days, ladybugs seek warm and dry places where they can stay and wait until spring. So, our houses are very cozy and comfortable shelters for them. You can see them in basements, near windows, corners, or doors. But in most situations, there are many, not just one.

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When one ladybug finds a way inside your house, it gives off the scented chemical flares that are attractive to other ladybugs, and after that, don’t be surprised if there will be a cluster of ladybugs in your house soon. Your heating system and comfortable environment will always be attractive to ladybirds during the cold days.

How Long Do Ladybugs Live Indoors?

It is interesting how long do ladybugs live indoors. If you want to take care of your ladybug in your house, you have to learn how to do it. Never leave the ladybug in a small jar or a space that is not ventilated. Maybe they do not have lungs, but they need oxygen to live. 

Online, you can buy various good-quality boxes that help create comfortable conditions for your new pets. It is essential to place the damp paper inside the box as a water source. Try to arrange green and friendly environment for it.

Raisins and honey plant leaves are the best foods you can provide for your ladybug. Feeding every day is important. We know that ladybugs are like pets for some people, but do not forget that they will go back to the wild after the winter season for mating. So, don’t attach it. 

How Long Do Ladybugs Live Without Food?

As we already mentioned, ladybugs save fat during the summer period to use while hibernating. It is widely known that these tiny ladies often eat aphids, mites, and other tiny bugs that are harmful to plants. However, there is a moment when they don’t have enough food sources, so the question is how long do ladybugs live without food?

In the winter, it is easy for them to live without food, which happens because of the stored fat reserve. They can last about 10-20 weeks without eating, but in the summer, when there is a warm environment and weather, ladybugs can die without eating for about 2 days.

According to National Geographic, ladybugs can eat up to about 5000 pests during their lifetime, and it is ladybirds’ favorite food, but on cold days, it becomes difficult to find the appropriate one. So, in this situation, ladybugs have alternative food sources like flower nectar, honey, and raisins. We have to mention that these insects have a very good appetite.

How Long Can You Keep A Ladybug?

Maybe you create a good and comfortable environment for ladybugs, but it should not last for many days. These tiny insects love the warmth in the winter. They will love your houses on cold days, but they cannot be in jars and closed boxes during their short lifetime. They can’t be inactive. They have to fly, find a portion of food, and be ready for mating season. 

Because these are their habits and ways of life, you cannot change their behavior. You can take care of them during the cold days, but after that, you have to let them go and give them a chance to go back to the wild. Nature, gardens, fields, forests, and green environments are the places where ladybugs feel freedom.

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Do Ladybugs’ Spots Tell Their Age?

We already talked about how long do ladybugs live, but now it is interesting if the spots and age of ladybugs are connected or related. Some people believe that the number of spots on a ladybug’s wings tells you the individual age of the ladybug, but this is not true. The coloration of ladybugs is known as aposematic coloration. And in reality, these spots are a way to warn predators. Furthermore, several spots help you identify different species of ladybugs.

Do Ladybugs Need Water To Survive?

We have already discussed that these insects need oxygen to survive, but maybe you sometimes notice ladybugs on the water. How long do ladybugs live in the water? How many hours can they go without air? Unlike humans, ladybugs can remain in the water for about an hour until exhausted. They don’t have lungs but they cannot live without oxygen, so if you see ladybugs in a puddle or somewhere in the water, try to save them by putting them on dry ground.

It is interesting if they need water or not to survive. In the early periods of their lives, ladybugs need to get water to survive, but after the adult stage, they get water from eating insect larvae, so in many cases, they don’t need additional water sources.

Predator Threats

As we already mentioned, ladybugs can live for about a year, but how long do ladybugs live when there are so many predators that can become a threat to them. Most birds and predators avoid killing ladybugs because of their defensive system. 

Also, this beetle often plays the role of a dead ladybug, but there are so many predators like dragonflies, tree frogs, and fungus that are not fooled and eat our tiny insects. This means that predators can be obstacles when we talk about the length of the ladybug’s life.

How Long Do Ladybugs Live Outdoors?

We have to consider the life cycle and various stages of ladybirds to find out how long ladybugs live. In the first stage, the female ladybug lays eggs in clusters. Some of them don’t hatch and are used to feed larvae. 

What’s more, you can easily notice that a ladybug lays its eggs in a place where there are lots of plants and available food for new larvae. After this period, females go through the metamorphosis known as pupa stages, and ladybugs that are hatched from eggs become adults.

Bottom Line

To summarize the question, how long do ladybugs live? The exact answer doesn’t exist. There are many things we have to consider when we talk about this topic. Cold days, fewer food sources, and predators can be obstacles to the life expectancy of ladybugs. Their life is very short, about one year, but if we create good conditions for them, they will be able to live up to two years

These tiny insects bring many benefits to us, so we can say that their short lives have great importance. So if you ever meet them, don’t think about killing them. Ladybugs are such cute and harmless insects that can bring happiness to your life.

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