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Lady “bugs” are a group of beetles that are also known as ladybird beetles or lady beetles. In fact, the name ladybug is a slang term for the more correct name, lady beetle. They are harmless to humans and are often considered cute by people who don’t like other insects. Some people think ladybugs are a sign of good luck.

Many ladybugs have bright colors to advertise to predators that they are not worth the effort! If disturbed, they can release a foul-smelling chemical from their “knees” to keep enemies away.

Predators learn that color combinations of bright oranges, reds, and blacks can mean an unappetizing taste, and they avoid eating the ladybugs. This works so well that even ladybugs that are not distasteful mimic the colors of the poisonous ones.

They also eat other harmful insects like fruit flies, thrips, and mites. Not all ladybugs are carnivorous, but the predatory ones are helpful to gardeners, because they do not damage crops while filling their bellies.

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