UC Master Gardener Program
UC Master Gardener Program
UC Master Gardener Program
University of California
UC Master Gardener Program

Posts Tagged: lady beetle

The Power of Red

UC Davis t-shirt logo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
There's a heartfelt reason why Friday, Feb. 7 is "UC Davis Wears Red Day."   

It's about raising awareness for heart disease, the No. 1 killer of both men and women. It's a battle we need to fight with an arsenal of weapons.

Spearheading the campuswide initiative is Chancellor Linda Katehi, partnering with Dr. Amparo Villablanca, director of the UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program, and Adele Zhang, curator of the UC Davis Design Museum. For the occasion, the UC Davis Bookstore is selling specially designed t-shirts. Red, of course. With a heart, of course.

A highlight of the events-crowded day will be an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Record for the largest heart formation. The current record: 11,166, set Feb. 27, 2010 in Nuevo León, Mexico. 

So UC Davis is inviting everyone, everyone everywhere, to wear red and gather at 11:30 a.m. on Hutchison Intramural Field, rain or shine.  The photo will be taken at 12:30.

It's unlikely that insects, the key subject of this blog, will be a part of the red heart formation, but hey, some insects are red, some are red-eyed and some occasionally wear red.

The lady beetle, aka ladybug (family Coccinellidae, is probably the most recognizable red of our insects.

The flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata, is a showstopping red. Firecracker red!

Some flies have prominent red eyes, including the flesh fly from the family Sarcophagidae.

And honey bees--they can play the red game, too. They gather red pollen from a variety of plants, including rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora), horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis), pear (Pyrus communis),and henbit (Lamium amplexicaule).

Frankly, we think it might rain during the heart formation, but as the UC Davis officials say: “Heart disease doesn't stop for rain and neither do we!"

We'll see red and the heart formation will be a sea of red. Maybe 11,167.

A syrphid fly, aka flower fly or hover fly, sipping nectar from a tower of jewels. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A syrphid fly, aka flower fly or hover fly, sipping nectar from a tower of jewels. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A syrphid fly, aka flower fly or hover fly, sipping nectar from a tower of jewels. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A lady beetle, aka lady bug, is a
A lady beetle, aka lady bug, is a "lady in red." (Photo by Kathy Keatley)

A lady beetle, aka lady bug, is a "lady in red." (Photo by Kathy Keatley)

A flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata, rests on a stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata, rests on a stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata, rests on a stake. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A flesh fly, family Sarcophagidae, grooming itself.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A flesh fly, family Sarcophagidae, grooming itself.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A flesh fly, family Sarcophagidae, grooming itself. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee with red pollen from a nearby rock puslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee with red pollen from a nearby rock puslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee with red pollen from a nearby rock puslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 10:05 PM

What's for Lunch?

What's for lunch?

If you're a lady beetle (aka ladybug), a good bet is you'll have one of those yummy, plant-sucking aphids. In fact, you'll eat your fill.  Please do.

Today we walked behind the Life Sciences Building on the UC Davis campus and encountered scores of our polka-dotted, six-legged, dome-shaped buddies hunting for prey.

It was easy pickings.

This was a fast predator in a slow food movement.

Aphids were everywhere on the brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)

Call lady beetles what you will. Ladybirds. Lady beetles. Ladybugs. Coccinelles. Beneficial insects. All of the above.

Most people in America, however, know this insect as a "ladybug." It's actually not a true bug but a beetle. It's a member of the Coccinellidae family. Coccinelid is Latin for "scarlet," but not all lady beetles are scarlet with black spots. Some are yellow, orange and brown, and some with spots and some without.

You'll find coccinellids worldwide as there are more than 5,000 species, and of that number, more than 450 are native to North America, according to Wikipedia. 

And they all "do lunch" with aphids, scales and other soft-bodied insects. 

Lady beetle, aka ladybug, devouring an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Lady beetle, aka ladybug, devouring an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Lady beetle, aka ladybug, devouring an aphid. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Predator and the prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Predator and the prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Predator and the prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Saturated. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Saturated. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Saturated. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 9:17 PM

Aphid Reunion

The aphids know how to plan a family reunion. 

Grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, mom and pop, brothers and sisters, cousins and more cousins--they're all gathering to feed on the lush growth of the spring roses, the juicy shoots, the tender buds. And they multiply. You think rabbits multiply fast? Try aphids.

A telltale sign of their presence: Crumpled white carcasses and leaves coated with sticky honeydew.

A strong blast of water and the aphids are gone. 

Well, at least some of them.

We watched a sole ladybug, aka ladybeetle, feasting on an aphid buffet on Easter Sunday. So many aphids, and so much time. All the aphids on her menu were green, but they come in yellow, brown and black, too.

The aphids crawled along the rose stems, bumping their cornicles or tubelike structures into one another, unaware of the looming red predator in their midst.

Until it was too late.

Aphid reunion on a rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Aphid reunion on a rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Aphid reunion on a rose. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Close-up of aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Close-up of aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A gorged ladybug has just polished off a row of aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A gorged ladybug has just polished off a row of aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A gorged ladybug has just polished off a row of aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 10:22 PM

An Aphid-Kind of Day

It was an aphid-kind of day.

When a ladybug landed on a gaura in our bee friendly garden, it was business as usual.

The business: eating aphids.

The rose aphids sucking the plant juices from the tender shoot didn't last long. 

This is why ladybugs are known as "beneficial insects."

You gotta love those ladybugs.

Tower of Aphids
Tower of Aphids

A LADYBUG crawls up a gaura to snack on aphids. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Eye to Eye
Eye to Eye

ROSE APHID is unaware that the ladybug is a predator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Crunch Time
Crunch Time

LADYBUG devours an aphid on a gaura. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, June 28, 2010 at 3:12 PM

The L-Bug

There she was, snuggled beneath a garbage can lid, seeking warmth as temperatures dipped to freezing levels.

She was lucky.

It was City Garbage Pick-Up Day. She could have been trucked to the local landfill had we not rescued her.

Luck be a lady and she was.

The little lady, aka ladybug, aka lady beetle, aka L-bug, survived.

She'll stay in the garden.

The Ladybug
The Ladybug

LUCKY BUG--This ladybug soaks up sunshine after being discovered in a garbage can. Her two-legged rescuers saved her from a trip to the landfill.(Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

On the Move
On the Move

ON THE MOVE--The ladybug, her legs a blur, heads out. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Off and Running
Off and Running

OFF AND RUNNING--The ladybug scrambles away to live another day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Monday, January 5, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Next 5 stories | Last story

Webmaster Email: mgwomack@ucanr.edu