Ladybugs will eat a wide variety of insects. They consume a great deal on a daily basis and they need to live in an area offering ample food supply. So does that diet include spiders?
It is true, ladybugs can and do eat spiders! Not only will they eat spiders, but they will also eat the eggs they lay too. While most people think of them as beautiful and adorable with their red color and black spots, they are predators.
If their food supply gets scarce, they will consume each other. Few people that realize the ladybug can be a cannibal if necessary to survive.
They can thrive in a variety of conditions, and they can adapt to changes around them. This includes what they will consume. As a result, they may eat different species of spiders depending on location.
Why do Ladybugs Eat Spiders?
Ladybugs consume insects that have a soft body to them. Spiders fit into that category, making them a good food source. It may surprise you to discover how much they can consume daily too!
While they may be small themselves, they do have a large appetite. An adult ladybug can eat up to 50 aphids per day.
This can include a variety of insects and spiders. It depends on where they reside and what they have access to in their environment. They are opportunistic, and they certainly won’t pass up a meal that can offer them what they need to survive. It stands to reason due to their size, the species of spiders they consume are also small.
This process helps with the natural order and balance within ecosystems. The ladybugs help to control populations of insects and spiders in given areas. Without them eating them in the quantities they do, they could overpopulate and create some serious damage to those ecosystems.
The ladybug is also a symbol of good luck. Many would rather see one of them than a spider!
Do Spiders Eat Ladybugs?
One might think the bright coloring of the ladybug would make it an easy target. In reality, the opposite is true. The bright red and orange mixed with black spots tend to be unappealing to many other predators they share a habitat with.
The coloring of the ladybug sends a message that triggers the opposite response. Most spiders and larger insects won’t consume them unless they have nothing else available. They can often blend well into their habitat despite of the bright colors, allowing them to be seen and then quickly on their way.
Some larger species of spiders that will consume ladybugs as part of their diet. This can occur if the ladybug happens to get caught up in the web of a spider. They may not eat them in those circumstances either.
Instead, they will let them go. The ladybug can move on the web and get away. Amazingly, they don’t get stuck easily!
Most spider species will leave them alone if they happen to see them moving about. Ladybugs know how to play dead as a mode of survival. Since spiders like live prey, they tend to bypass them.
Once the threat is gone, the ladybug can move about once again. They can also move at a fast speed for short periods of time if they feel there is a threat.
There is also evidence to suggest ladybugs don’t taste very good! They can emit a type of fluid that other predators don’t care for. This allows them to be able to get away from would be predators, unless food resources tend to be in low supply.
Then such predators, including spiders, are more likely to eat the ladybugs than to look for something else to consume.
Ladybugs can be hard for many spiders to eat, due to their hard exoskeleton. This combined with the taste can cause many species to simply co-exist with the ladybug.
This is especially true when they have ample food to choose from and they aren’t in a position where they must eat the ladybug to be able to survive.
One of the exceptions to this is the Joro spider. It will consume ladybugs if it gets this chance. This is a larger species of spider, and it is able to handle both the taste and the hard shell of the ladybug to dine on it.
They are mainly located in Japan, China, and Korea. In the United States, they have been identified in the state of Georgia.
What Species of Spiders are Ladybugs likely to Eat?
The species of spiders ladybugs will eat depend on several variables. This includes the species of ladybug, where it resides, and other food sources. Since they are small, they won’t be a match for any large species of spiders.
While many people lump them all together, more than 5,000 different species of ladybugs have been identified. They all have unique habits based on location.
Spider mites can be a problem in many locations, but they also provide a great diet for ladybugs! Spider mites tend to destroy plants and trees. There is debate about are they really spiders or not?
They are closely related and that is why they can be mixed up with this type of information. The ladybugs can help prevent the plants and trees from being harmed or destroyed by spider mites.
Ladybugs aren’t going put themselves in danger. They won’t take on spiders that are large or that are poisonous. They will only be able to consume those that are soft bodied.
They are looking for an easy target, something they can quickly access and consume without any risk to their well-being. They aren’t going to get into a battle with a spider to see who eats who!
If you’re finding this article interesting then check out some of our other posts on ladybugs like How Long Do Ladybugs live without Food?
Is this a Common Occurrence?
The data about how often ladybugs consume spiders can be hard to come by. In many environments, they are going to find other insects and aphids to consume.
However, there are habitats where some of the species consume many spiders regularly. It all depends on the species of ladybug and where they reside.
They are resourceful, so when their typical food supplies run low, they are going to eat what they can. They may consume small spiders to survive when they otherwise wouldn’t have gone that route.
Such studies can be fascinating to observe and to read about. They are intelligent and they are adaptable to a variety of changes in their habitat.
What Parts of the World does this Happen?
Ladybugs tend to reside where they have plenty of access to food and shelter. This includes gardens, forests, around plants and trees, and other similar areas.
You will find ladybugs feasting on spiders in any such scenarios. It all depends on the types of spiders, their size, and the species of ladybugs around.
If you do your research, you will find this happens in countries all over the world. These insects are trying to survive. At the same time, they are offering a service, helping to keep plants and trees healthy.
The amount of their diet that consists of spiders will vary though based on time of year, location, and the food sources available to them at any given point in time.
In their lifespan, a single ladybug is believed to consume up to 50,000 aphids! They have an important role to carry out that helps the circle of life to be completed.
It is a natural way to allow things to grow and to not let them be destroyed by various insects and pests that may also reside in that same area.
Is this Something to Worry about in your Garden?
Ladybugs can be beneficial in your garden. They eat a variety of types of insects, including spiders. They can serve as a natural resource to help reduce the number of insects in the garden.
Some of those insects can be pests, destroying what you have planted as they rely on it for a food source. The ladybugs can help to reduce those problems so you don’t have to use harmful chemicals to keep them away.
Typically, ladybugs won’t be a problem in your garden. When you do see them there, they are helping behind the scenes to keep things in balance. This is why most gardeners allow them to reside there and don’t remove them.
Some even introduce them to the garden when they have a known issue with spiders and other pests and they need a way to control the problem.
They tend to be able to do well being introduced to a new environment. You can entice them with some raisins that have been softened. You can also feed them small pieces of lettuce or bits of honey.
This will help them adapt to their new location and give them time to find food sources. They are going to be helpful. They won’t cause any harm so there are only benefits, no disadvantages by them being there.
Many are delighted when they see these colorful insects in their garden! Introduce a small number of them and they will soon add to that population.
If you want to learn more about various insects, then checkout our site categories, we have a bunch of articles there that are totally worth reading:
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