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Nature’s Pest Control: Do Ladybugs Eat Ticks?

Author: David Blue

Do ladybugs eat ticks?

Ah, the infamous tick: known for their blood-sucking habits and disease transmission. The good news is, ticks are not without enemies in the wild. A variety of creatures feed on them despite their robust exoskeletons that deter many predators.

Birds, amphibians, and certain reptiles are known to eat ticks. Smaller organisms, including certain types of spiders, ants, and beetles, particularly prey on ticks in their more vulnerable larval stage. But what about ladybugs, do they eat ticks? Let’s look at ladybug behavior to answer this question.

 

The Diet and Behavior of Ladybugs

The enchanting ladybug, known scientifically as Coccinellidae, has a penchant for soft-bodied insects.

The ladybug is a ruthless predator of pests such as aphids, mites, and small insects. These small creatures make up the majority of a ladybug’s diet, with an adult ladybug capable of consuming hundreds of aphids within a week.

Ladybugs are also known for their migratory behavior. As the seasons change and food becomes scarce, ladybugs will migrate to find better food sources, often in large groups. This migration is also part of their reproductive cycle, with ladybugs returning to their birthplaces to mate and lay eggs.

 

Do Ladybugs Eat Ticks?

In short, yes, ladybugs eat ticks. While they are more likely to eat ticks in their adolescent stages, ladybugs will eat most any type of tick when available. Mature ticks typically have a harder exterior (hard-bodied) like dog ticks & black-legged ticks, making them a tougher meal for ladybugs.

How Many Ticks Will a Ladybug Consume?

While it’s difficult to quantify exactly how many ticks a ladybug could consume in a day, a ladybug will eat dozens of insects in a day when available. Some sources suggest ladybugs will consume up to 60 ticks in a day.

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Did you know? 

Ticks are actually part of the arachnid family – like spiders, scorpions, & mites. Unlike spiders, ticks are purely parasitic in nature.

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Are LadyBugs Effective for Tick Pest Control?

There are limited studies on the food chain of ladybugs as it relates to ticks. While ladybugs are known to eat ticks, they are not a surefire solution to your tick problem.

It is best to take a more comprehensive approach: beyond relying on ladybugs to eradicate the ticks in your area, you should also use other methods such as professional pest control and the use of DEET. 

 

Encouraging Ladybug Populations

Ladybugs play a significant role in pest control, particularly for aphids and mites. Encouraging ladybug populations can be beneficial to maintain a balanced garden ecosystem.

To encourage ladybugs in your garden, you can plant a variety of flowering plants to provide nectar and pollen, which adult ladybugs require for reproduction. Native plants are especially good for attracting native ladybugs. 

Also, reducing or eliminating pesticide use can make your garden more ladybug-friendly, as these chemicals can harm ladybugs along with the pests they control. Ladybug houses, available commercially, can also provide shelter for these beneficial insects.

 

Conclusion

Ladybugs, with their iconic polka-dotted exteriors, have long been regarded as a good luck charm in many cultures. While they may help in the fight against ticks, it’s important to use a comprehensive approach to tick-control.

See also: our recent article on do ticks live in trees?

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