They go by a variety of names, lady beetles, ladybirds, and ladybug. The French call the Ladybugs “les betes du bon Dieu” or creatures of God. The Swiss call ladybugs “Good God’s Little Fairy”.
There is even a myth which goes back to the medieval Europe. In the middle ages crops in Europe were plagued by pests and then the peasants started to pray to the Virgin Mary. As a result of their prayers, ladybugs appeared in the fields and ate all the pests, resulting in crops to prosper. From that time, people started considering these beetles sacred, and thus began calling them the “Bug of Our Lady” a reference to the Virgin Mary.
I love this old nursery rhyme:
Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire;
Your children all roam.
Except little Nan
Who sits in her pan
Weaving her laces as fast as she can.
Many believe this children’s rhyme began in England as a warning to ladybugs crawling on old hop vines. After the hops were harvested, the vines were burned to clear the fields. The adult ladybugs could fly away, the larva could crawl away, but the pupae could not leave the burning plants. The insects in pupate form, within their shells, would not be able to flee the danger and thus would die from the smoke or fire. The idea is that Nan is within her pupal case and cannot flee until she breaks free “weaving her laces” or undoing her pupal case.
More interesting ladybug facts:
- You can fit 80,000 ladybugs into a gallon jug.
- Male ladybugs are smaller than female ladybugs.
- Ladybugs are the official state insect of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio and Tennessee.
- A ladybug beats its wings about 5,100 times a minute or about 85 beats a second when it flies.
- The spotted wing covers on ladybugs are made from a material called chitin, the same as our fingernails.
- The black spots on their wings fade as they age.
- A ladybug can live for up to three years.
- Long ago, doctors used mashed-up ladybugs to cure toothaches.