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Lady Beetles

John Flannery/Flickr Creative Commons

Over the weekend, I was in my garden and saw one of nature’s own pest controllers. It was my first ladybug of the season and I was really lucky, as it was a native species, called a ‘convergent’ ladybug. The tiny, beautiful insect was an orangey-red half-sphere with 13 bold black spots and had its trademark stubby legs and roving antennae.

Worldwide, there are about 5,000 similar species of ladybug, although the word “bug” is a misnomer. Technically, ‘bugs’ are insects with sucking mouth parts and a simple development process. Ladybugs as we know them are, in fact, beetles – with chewing mouth parts and a full metamorphosis. Similar to butterflies, lady beetles go through the stages of larva, pupa and adult – which is why entomologists prefer the common name ‘lady beetle’ to ‘ladybug.’

W. Brooks Paternotte took the helm of Irvine Nature Center as executive director in July 2013 and immediately began building on the strong 35-year foundation. Brooks is a Baltimore native who was a teacher, coach, advisor, dean and Head of the Middle School during his 13 years at Boys’ Latin School in Baltimore. He is also an instructor and ambassador of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and is a Leave No Trace Master, as well as an avid outdoorsman and a features writer for FlyLife Magazine.
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