Gardeners are familiar with the benefits of keeping lady bugs in their gardens. These tiny beetles are beneficial bugs helping to keep the populations of aphids, scales, and other soft bodied insects under control. Why? Because the tiny, cute, red lady bug is a real predator!
The Lady Bug Name
Lady bugs don’t eat plants, they eat other insects. This is incredibly helpful to farmers and gardeners who hate losing their crops to bug infestation. The lady bug has been helping farmers for centuries and they’ve been around long enough that they earned their name from a legendary source.
In the medieval ages, European farmers were over run by pests eating their crops. They prayed to the Virgin Mary to help them beat the insects. After this, lots of little red beetles with black spots showed up on the crops making the farmers even more worried about their livelihoods. They soon noticed that the beetles were eating up the other insects. They eventually devoured most of the invading insects. These bugs were given the name, “beetles of Our Lady”, in their honor. This name was eventually shortened to lady bugs.
Lady Bugs Save Citrus Industry
That’s not the only story about these little ladies. There are plenty of tales about the benefits of lady bugs for people’s gardens. In the 1800s, Australian scale insects were wreaking havoc on the orange and lemon trees of Californian farmers. The farmers decided to bring Australian lady bugs in and release them into the orchards to see if the little beetles could halt the damage. Within two years, the orchards were completely free of scale insects allowing the Californian citrus industry to flourish.
Lady Bug Myths
Most cultures believe that lady bugs are lucky and that killing one will bring sadness and misfortune. Some cultures have more specific myths regarding the lady bug. The French believe that if a lady bug lands on you, your illness would fly away with the lady bug when it left you. Belgians believe that having a lady bug crawl across your hand means you will be married within a year. The Swiss say that lady bugs bring babies instead of the stork. Asian cultures believe that lady bugs can understand human language and that these little insects were blessed by God. While the Norse believe that lady bugs came to Earth riding on a bolt of lightening.
There are tons of great stories and legends about the lady bug. This beetle has been helping mankind for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The next time this little lady happens to alight on your hand, consider the immense good this bug can do and let her fly on her way. Perhaps she’ll give you good luck in return.
- License: Creative Commons image source
About the author: Cynthia is a blogger for a Midland Pest Control company. In her spare time she enjoys gardening.