Ladybirds are probably the most popular member of the beetle family in Britain. Gardeners love them because they are voracious aphid eaters, and so are their larvae. Ladybirds are so good at keeping population numbers down, you won’t need to use pesticides.
The two-spotted and seven-spotted varieties are the most frequently seen species. Many people believe that the number of spots indicates the age of the ladybird, but this is a myth.
Why are they called ladybirds?
According to legend, the name comes from farmers in Britain. During the Middle Ages, their crops were being eaten by pests, and they prayed to ‘Our Lady,’ the Virgin Mary for help. Soon the farmers starting seeing ladybirds on their crops, and the pest numbers went down.
In early paintings, Mary was often depicted wearing a red cloak, with spots like a ladybird to symbolise her seven joys and seven sorrows.
So the farmers associated these insects with the Virgin Mary and named them Lady beetle or Our Lady’s bird. In German, ladybirds are called Marienkäfer, which means Mary beetle.
How to build a ladybird hotel
Ladybirds are always looking for a safe space to lay their eggs, and the adults also hibernate over winter. They often use dead stems or old wood, but you can replicate this natural environment in your garden with a pine cone hotel.