A Few People I Talk To Think Yellow Ladybugs are Bad?

Does anyone else talk to ppl who for some reason think certain ladybug sp. are bad, a lot of people say things like, “yellow ladybugs aren’t real ladybugs and they bite/ are venomous, and we kill them whenever we see them” Another one I hear a lot is “Asian ladybugs aren’t real ladybugs, and they also bite.” Both of these are confusing to me, because

  • There are many species of yellow ladybugs, like 14 spotted and 22 spotted ladybugs.
  • Ladybugs are famous for being for being beneficial insects
  • I have held ladybugs ever since I was three, and I have never been bitten. They make a noxious odor if disturbed but that’s it.

I am honestly concerned that people, on many occasions, have told me that they think these insects have venomous bites (they may, but not enough to harm a human. They are poisonous for an animal to eat, but that is different) and/or that they bite or aren’t “real” ladybugs.

I clearly remember an occasion when I was twelve, and this kid was squishing little ladybugs bc his mom told him they would hurt him somehow. It was so confusing, idk if any of the things ppl are worried about are true, or if it is just weird info that spread.

Hopefully I worded this question correctly, basically I am wondering if 1) anyone else has had people say any of these things and 2) if any of this is true.

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I have heard this about yellow ladybugs, one of which I believe I may of been bitten by, and it hurt. However all I’ve heard about ladybugs has been how great they are {and I don’t want to hurt them}, so I’ve suspected I may be misremembering… either way, I do tend to avoid yellow ladybugs because of it, even if it’s one specific species that’s “dangerous” I don’t have enough expertise to identify them. I’ve never heard that they aren’t “real” ladybugs or about them being venomous… only that they bite, and in my {real or misremembered} experience, the bite hurt, but not to any significant degree and there was no mosquite bite-type bump or anything, nor any pain or itching afterwards.

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A lot of misinformation about lady beetles (aka ladybugs) gets spread around on gardening and nature social media pages. I haven’t heard people refer to “yellow ladybugs” but I often see the misconception that Asian Lady Beetles are not “ladybugs” (which are almost always represented by a graphic of a Seven-spotted Lady Beetle).

For example, graphics like this one:

I made corrected versions that I use to try and set the record straight.

With over 500 native species of lady beetle in the U.S., it’s a shame that many infographics like this choose to depict another invasive species. [Note: I’m referring specifically to how prevalent graphics like this are in North American-specific gardening and nature social media pages. Seven-spotted Lady Beetles are a native species in Europe, and Asian Lady Beetles are native in Asia.]

I think there is a lot of nuance. Is the lady beetle in question a native or introduced species? Is “beneficial” defined ecologically or economically (such as in terms of crop production)?

In North America, Asian Lady Beetles and Seven-spotted Lady Beetles are invasive and compete with native lady beetle species. So while these species may be beneficial economically, they aren’t beneficial ecologically. Squash Lady Beetles and Mexican Bean Lady Beetles are native in NA and thus play a role in the ecosystem, but are “pests” to anyone trying to grow cucurbits and beans, respectively.

The term “beneficial” is relative. Because lady beetles will sometimes eat Monarch eggs and young larvae, I’ve seen native-plant gardeners overly concerned about native lady beetles. In contrast, a vegetable gardener with aphids attacking their tomatoes may release mail-order, nonnative “ladybugs”.

I created this informational graphic because I often see people promoting mail-order ladybugs (and other aphid predators like lacewings):

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They are bad because they are not ripe yet.

(sorry)

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I suspected some of the stuff around Asian ladybeetles was because they are invasives. Still, I have never been bitten by one so I am wondering why people are saying this.

That is another good point, I guess I have always thought of ladybugs as a specialist species feeding on aphids, but I can see how both targeting and competing with native species could be a reason people don’t like them.

Even if the Asian ladybeetles are invasives, though, idk why people keep saying they bite (Unless I have been extremely lucky :woman_shrugging:t4: )

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OMG this is marked as a solution lol :rofl:

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I see them eat mayflies on my moth sheet, both native H convergens and non-native O v-nigrum adults. Other lady beetles eat scale bugs, powdery mildew, and more https://bugguide.net/node/view/179

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I have been bitten by the Asian Lady Beetle many times. Bonus: They stain your clothes when you try to wipe them off…

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They don’t bite often, especially if you are not rough with them, but they can and do sometimes bite.

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I have been bitten by the native Hippodamia convergens, but only when they were massing on a mountain peak in southeast Arizona. I assumed it was something to do with this seasonal convergence. Not a serious bite, just a pinch.

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Maybe this misconception is related to the myth that red lady beetles are lucky? I mean, yellow is kind of like an inverse of red in lady beetles, so maybe the myths reflect that. That just leaves orange lady beetles. Being in the middle of the two, they must not have any effect at all.

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Mexican bean beetle - Wikipedia

Wow, lots of people have been bitten by them. I guess you learn something new everyday! @That_Bug_Guy that might play into it, or maybe people just associate the yellow and black combo on insects with wasps. @jasonhernandez74 thank you for the link, I never knew that there was a plant eating ladybug! This might be another reason people don’t like them, maybe they just associate all yellow ones with this agricultural pest.

Thank you everyone for the replies!

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I was identifying an Asian ladybeetle on QuestaGame and wanted to check the species name. I also came across misinformation online that Asian ladybeetles are not “ladybugs”! :woman_facepalming:

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I’ve heard the yellow ladybug thing before. Some kid also told me in school that yellow butterflies bite (ie sulphurs) (???) The funny thing is that by far the most common yellow ladybugs in my area are just… yellow Asian ladybugs lol, so literally no reason to think they’re any different. Just a superstition I guess.

I’ve never been bitten either but I usually less “pick up” beetles more “put my hand in their way so they walk on me” so I don’t think they’re that distressed, hopefully anyway

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I have been bitten a few times by yellowish beige Lady Beetle, but it was never a serious bite, just unexpected. I am not an expert in identifying Lady Beetles, but last April, I saw hundreds of them while observing the raptor migration. The spot where we counted the raptors was on top a rugged hill in the Red Sea coastal area. These delightful Lady beetles appeared in a morning when not enough raptors were soaring in the sky, a nice surprise! They spread over rocks but preferred our clothes and chairs! Now I am reminded that I should do more research to identify the species and if what we witnessed was actually a Lady Beetle migration. Not all the individuals bit of course, perhaps only one percent did.

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That’s what I always do, too. It is easier than trying to actually pick up such a tiny thing without hurting it.

That sounds like a great day! What a pretty spot too.

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