Were you to find this on one of your vegetable or ornamental plants would you know what it is? Would you squish it or, even worse, spray it with an insecticide under the belief that all bugs are bad?
You’d be making a mistake.
This is not a bug. It’s a ladybug pupa.
It’s really wise to know a bit about supposed enemies before going on a seek and destroy mission. Destroying this pupa would kill a future insect-eating machine.
Ladybugs, also known as ladybug beetles or ladybird beetles, go about their lives feasting on aphids, mealybugs, scale, fly larva and insect eggs. Isn’t this a creature you want in your gardens?
Watch this video to witness the stages of a ladybug’s life. Warning: it contains ladybug sex!
Unfortunately, many of the common orange and black ladybugs are not native to our region. While beneficial to gardeners, farmers and fruit and nut growers, these Asian ladybug beetles (Harmonia axyridis) may be displacing native ladybugs. It’s also possible that native ladybugs are declining or moving to different areas for other reasons. The Lost Ladybug Project is trying to gather information to learn more about introduced and native ladybug populations. It’s a citizen scientist project, anyone can participate by gathering and reporting information on ladybug sightings.
Asian ladybug beetles can become pesky during the autumn. They are attracted to light-colored buildings and swarm on and around them looking for cold-weather shelter. Read more from the University of Connecticut Integrated Pest Management on Asian ladybug beetles in Connecticut and how to deal with them if they become pesky.
I was happy to find this and other ladybug pupa resting on my pepper and basil leaves. I found even more on the nasturtium that were, earlier, covered in black aphids. Now that ladybugs have moved in, I can rest assured that the remaining aphid population will be well controlled.
Knowledge is power … garden thoughtfully.