One of Britain’s commonest ladybirds. Brightly coloured red with seven spots on the elytra (wing cases) warns predators that they taste nasty. They can also play dead and secrete a toxin when threatened. Length up to 9mm.
After mating eggs are laid, and the larva or grub emerges after about a week. After around three to four weeks pupation takes place in a hard casing. Another week on and the adult beetle finally emerges. It takes a few days before the wing cases harden and the bright colouration and markings express themselves. Both the larva and the adult insect hunt and consume large numbers of aphids and scale insects. They are a true farmer’s and gardener’s friend. One ladybird can devour up to 50 aphids a day.
They hibernate over winter in close clusters in sheds or cellars, or under tree bark, and are active March to October. They live in a wide range of habitats including gardens, hedgerows and meadows. Widespread and the most common of all the UK’s ladybirds.
Photograph taken of 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) May 2014 and June 2016, local woodland margin and rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014 & 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.