Predators are both adult insects (one eats every day from 100 to 150 aphids), as well as larvae (during the development period, i.e. within two or three weeks, one eats up to 800 aphids).
They winter in the form of adult insects in various bark apertures, under fallen leaves, in building cracks. In spring, as one of the first insects, they leave their hiding places and look for food on plants. In early May females begin laying eggs. They have a yellow or orange color, elliptical in shape, about 1.5 mm long, folded on various parts of plants (leaves, stems, trunks), usually several, a dozen or even several dozen, very often near the colonies of aphids.
They are similar to Colorado potato beetles and for this reason they may be unnecessarily destroyed, except that the Colorado beetles lay eggs only on potatoes and tomatoes.
The ladybug larvae are very voracious, after hatching quite often other eggs of ladybugs eat. Also, if there is no food in the form of aphids or honeys, it can lead to mutual devouring of larvae, or cannibalism.
After about 20 days of larval life, the transformation takes place in a chrysalis, which lasts several days, after which an adult insect is extracted. Two generations of ladybirds of heptops grow every year in Polish conditions.
It is also worth adding that the larvae of ladybugs are definitely less known and often destroyed, in the belief that they are pests.
Biedronka versus aphids on a blueberry plantation
In the spring of 2013, I made little experience to see if the ladybugs would be able to control the aphid population. In the inter-rows of freshly planted blueberries, a white quail began to grow, I had to fight it mechanically, but I noticed that it was attacked by aphids. I decided to leave this cabbage and aphids alone and watch how the situation develops. It was June, it was warm, the aphid population developed rapidly, after a few days it seemed to me that the aphids would destroy this undesirable plant and I was afraid that the aphids would attack the young blueberry bushes. However, I noticed folded eggs on the leaves of a quinoa, similar to the Colorado potato beetle, but I knew that these were the eggs of ladybugs. I waited a few more days and what I saw exceeded all my expectations. The aphid colony was attacked by the ladybug larvae, the effect was such that after a dozen or so days there was no aphid trail, then adult ladybugs moved out.
Larvae ladybug and aphid Larvae ladybug eat aphid colony on blueberry plantation blueberry plantation
Probably they found a place with another aphid population and laid eggs to make their offspring close to the canteen.
This experience showed how nature can manage itself, in the case of a large number of ransomware, a natural predator appears that feeds on it. The greater the number of pests, the more the number of predators that limit the pest increases, if the number of pests is clearly reduced due to lack of food, the number of predators decreases. Of course, it must be as such a balance in the local ecosystem, not disturbed by chemistry by man.
The photos are not perfect, I had problems with sharpness, I used Lumix FZ28 + Raynox DCM 250 lens, narrowed focusing area, for this photo from the "hand"