Ashy Gray Lady Beetle (Olla v-nigrum)

When I say ladybug, most people think of red and black beetles. The Ashy Gray Lady Beetle is probably not one that comes to mind.

These beautiful creatures are sure to catch your attention with their monotone colors and playful personality.

If you’re considering owning one, you’re in luck!

This complete guide to caring for Olla v-nigrum provides all the information you need to successfully keep one as a pet.

From understanding its natural environment to setting up the appropriate housing and substrate, this guide will make sure you have all the necessary information to properly care for your new pet ladybug.

Read on to find out more!

Common Name Ashy Gray Lady Beetle
Family Name Coccinellidae
Scientific Name Olla v-nigrum
Use Pest Control, Pets
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan 1 to 2 Years
Diet Omnivorous
Adult Size 3- 6mm
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Easy
Minimum Tank Size 5 Gallon
pH 6.5-7.5
Hardness Moderate
Temperature 70-85°F

What Are Ashy Gray Lady Beetles?

Olla v-nigrum is a type of beetle belonging to the Coccinellidae family of insects and is also referred to as the Ashy Gray Lady Beetle.

This species is typically black, brown, or gray in color with mottled markings of brown and white.

Additionally, they’ll sometimes have a distinct whitish-gray ash edge along the outside of their body which is where the common name comes from.

In nature, they can often be found in crop fields, gardens, meadows, or woodlands, and they are important predators of many insect pests.

What Do Ashy Gray Lady Beetles Look Like?

The Ashy Gray Lady Beetle is a beautiful species of beetle with impressive coloration and size.

It has a light gray or brownish-gray color across the back, with a sprinkling of smaller light gray or dark-brown spots.

It has a white or silver border around all its legs and wing covers.

Its head is also black with a white thorax and abdomen.

As for size, it is quite small, measuring from 3-6mm in length.

In terms of shape, it is oval and quite slender, giving it a unique look.

To complete its look, Olla v-nigrum has a set of distinct antennae that are black in color and curve slightly outward.

This adds to its overall beauty and helps distinguish it from other lady beetle species.

Furthermore, its wings are broad and transparent, and its legs are thin and light.

Its eyes are also slightly beady, giving it a unique and endearing appearance.

Benefits Of Using Ashy Gray Lady Beetles

Ashy Gray Lady Beetles are a great addition to many vivarium types due to their natural insect-eating habits and attractive coloration.

They are an excellent way to control populations of small pests in the enclosure, such as aphids and mites.

Olla v-nigrum is also relatively easy to care for, requiring only the correct environment and terrarium substrate to thrive.

In terms of aesthetics, their unique coloration creates a beautiful and unique contrast to any tank’s aesthetic.

Plus, their playful and energetic behaviors can add movement and life to the miniature space.

For these reasons, the Ashy Gray Ladybird is an excellent choice for anyone looking to add some color and interest to their enclosure.

Olla v-nigrum: The Ashy Gray Lady Beetle Care Guide!

Ashy Gray Lady Beetle Facts

Olla v-nigrum is a small beetle native to North America, characterized by its distinctive monotone-themed colors.

Their lifespan is typically a few years in captivity and they feed on small insects in the wild, though they can also be given plant matter and other suitable treats.

They are generally calm and placid, making them ideal pets if given the appropriate environment and care.

Breeding can be accomplished without too much effort, although it usually requires certain conditions to be met in order to successfully produce a viable hatchling.


Olla v-nigrum can primarily be found in Central America as well as in North


Their natural habitat is grasslands, where they can find plenty of food and avoid predators.

Their preferred surroundings usually consist of short, flat areas, away from dense vegetation where sunlight can reach without obstruction.

Ashy Gray Lady Beetles can usually be found in lower elevations, especially in warm, moist climates.

They also require sources of fresh water, as well as daytime shade.

During more extreme climates, these beetles may seek shelter in man-made structures, such as homes and garages.


Olla v-nigrum is a generalist feeder, meaning it consumes a wide range of prey.

Its primary diet consists of aphid and mite species, although they also feed on other arthropods such as carpet beetles, caterpillars, and mosquitoes.

They are particularly fond of mealybugs, small-scale insects, which they actively seek out.

In addition to this, the Ashy Gray Lady Beetle will supplement its diet with small amounts of pollen, fungi, nectar, and a variety of other plant materials.


Olla v-nigrum is a gentle creature and is known for its docile temperament around humans and other animals.

Despite being a predator, it does not bite nor actively hunt other species and is quite content when provided with enough food and a secure place to hide.

On occasion, it may fly around without warning, and while it will not attempt to bite, you should take caution when handling one. 

If you own other pets, it is good practice to ensure that they can co-exist peacefully with lady beetle.

When the introduction is done correctly, your pet beetle should be content to remain in its cage and observe its surroundings.

However, if your other animals are too aggressive or curious, it would be best to keep them away from the Ashy Gray Lady Beetle to prevent any possible conflicts or injuries. 

Just remember to keep a watchful eye and intervene if necessary to ensure that all your precious pets are getting along well.


Olla v-nigrum live an average of 1-2 years in captivity, with some specimens living up to 4 years.

In nature, however, these beetles can often live up to 5 years.

Ashy Gray Lady Beetles go through a typical metamorphic stage, transitioning from an egg to larvae, to a pupa, and finally to an adult beetle.

It is essential to understand that these beetles not only need food and water for survival, but they also require a specific environment in order to mature through all growth stages.

The larvae stage of the Ashy Gray Lady Beetle consists of four instars or molting periods.

During the first few days after hatching from the egg, the larvae are quite small and nearly colorless.

In only a few days, however, they will shed and appear in the classic gray and blue coloring that we know and love.

The pupal stage is also relatively short, taking up to a week before the beetle is ready to emerge as an adult beetle. 

Once the beetle has emerged as an adult, it will soon begin to mate.

Female beetles leave pheromone trails in order to attract males, and some female beetles may lay hundreds of eggs throughout the year.

Once mating has taken place, the female will lay her eggs on an appropriate substrate.


Adult Ashy Gray Lady Beetles are prolific breeders that will mate and lay eggs multiple times during the warm season.

It is common for the females to display a variety of mating behaviors like releasing pheromones and vigorously rubbing their antennae on the male to signify her readiness.

Courtship usually lasts for a few minutes, but if the female beetle is not feeling ready to mate, she may even play dead for the male beetle until she is ready.

Once mating is complete, the female will lay her eggs in the previously mentioned locations.

Where To Find Ashy Gray Lady Beetles

If you’re looking to find Olla v-nigrum in the wild, your best bet is to look for them in local parks and wildlife preserves where they typically like to hang out.

In general, they are most active on sunny days and can be spotted feeding on smaller insects like aphids.

If you’re looking for one to adopt as a pet, you can usually find one for sale at pet stores.

However, you should be aware that many pet stores only carry captive-bred specimens, which is not ideal for the health of the beetles as they may not be used to their new living conditions.

When buying Ashy Gray Lady Beetles, it is best to opt for ones that have been bred in captivity and not in the wild, as these are more likely to be healthier and better adjusted to life outside the pet store.

Ashy Gray Lady Beetle Care

The proper care of Olla v-nigrum starts with understanding their natural environment, setting up appropriate housing and substrate, providing hiding spots, and feeding them natural foods.

 It is good practice to monitor the temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure and to recognize any potential problems such as parasites and diseases, overcrowding, and improper enclosure.

With proper care and attention, you can ensure that your Ashy Gray Lady Beetle stays healthy.

Tank Requirements

When it comes to caring for Olla v-nigrum, the ideal enclosure is a twig-filled terrarium or a custom-made bug suite designed specifically for lady beetles.

The pH of the substrate should be between 6.5 and 7.5, with moderate hardness levels and a temperature between 80 and 85°F.

As for substrate, coco fiber soil is the preferred option, as this provides the best moisture microbiome for the beetles.

In addition, the terrarium should be well-lit by indirect natural terrarium light or a few watts of full-spectrum light bulbs.

Lastly, provide some twigs and stones to give your beetle places to hide and play.

What Do Ashy Gray Lady Beetles Eat?

Feeding your Ashy Gray Lady Beetles can be quite an enjoyable task!

These little critters enjoy a wide variety of foods, so you can keep their diet interesting and varied.

You should aim to provide them with a balanced diet of suitable items such as: 

  • Fruits: apples, bananas, grapes, melons, dates, and more 
  • Vegetables: lettuce, celery, carrots, squash, sweet corn, and more 
  • Protein: cooked meats such as lean ground beef and chicken, cooked eggs, fish, and insects 
  • Grains: cooked oats, barley, wheat, millet, and more 

In order to keep your Olla v-nigrum healthy, you should form a regular feeding schedule and scatter the food throughout their enclosure.

It is good to note that you should always research the natural diet of the species you are caring for, as some foods may be unsuitable or even toxic.

Additionally, you’ll want to provide a clean and safe water source at all times.

If you’re looking for a more detailed approach to feeding these critters, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY ladybug food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.

What Do Ladybugs Eat? | Best Ladybug Food + DIY Recipes!

Best Tankmates For Ashy Gray Lady Beetles

The Ashy Gray Lady Beetle is a solitary species, so they do best when kept alone.

It’s essential to provide an environment with plenty of hiding spots to keep them safe and stress-free.

That said, there are several species of invertebrates that can be kept with Olla v-nigrum in order to enhance the enclosure with beneficial qualities.

Some of the best tankmates for this lady beetle include terrarium snails, isopods, small millipedes, and springtails.

All of these creatures are slow and gentle, so they won’t disturb or hurt the Ashy Gray Ladybird.

These critters are great for keeping the substrate clean, as well as providing some natural food sources.

They are also great climbers, so they can bring movement to the enclosure without disturbing the lady beetle.

They are very small and will only add to the variety of the enclosure decor.

They don’t require much space, so they won’t crowd out the Ashy Gray Ladybug and can provide some natural soil substrate enrichment.


Caring for Olla v-nigrum is an incredibly rewarding experience that will bring you closer to nature.

With the right information and a proper habitat, these captivating creatures will bring a unique experience to your setup.

Providing an appropriate environment and routine care will ensure your beetle’s long and healthy life.

Now you’re ready to go start your beetle-keeping journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

Ashy gray lady beetles (Olla v-nigrum) are not considered to be poisonous to humans or pets.

Ashy gray lady beetles (Olla v-nigrum) primarily feed on aphids and other soft-bodied insects.

The presence of an ashy gray ladybug, also known as Olla v-nigrum, can indicate a healthy ecosystem as they are beneficial predators that help control populations of aphids and other soft-bodied insects.

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