If you’re an insect enthusiast, you can’t miss out on the unique and fascinating Heather Ladybird.
Native to Europe, these colorful ladybugs are a sight to behold and are sure to bring some extra flair to your insect collection.
In this guide, you’ll learn all about how to adequately care for Chilocorus bipustulatus, right from understanding their needs to feeding them correctly.
|Common Name||Heather Ladybird|
|Scientific Name||Chilocorus bipustulatus|
|Use||Pest Control, Pets|
|Lifespan||about 3 months|
|Adult Size||3.75-5.0 mm|
|Breeding Type||Egg Layer|
|Minimum Tank Size||5 Gallon|
What Are Heather Ladybirds?
Chilocorus bipustulatus is a kind of predator beetle that is native to Europe.
They are a member of the Coccinellidae family, which is commonly referred to as the “ladybugs” or “ladybird” family.
These insects are famous for their vibrant colors, and have even been known to wander from their habitats into nearby gardens!
The common name “Heather Ladybird” comes from the fact that they tend to favor heather plants and habitats whenever they are near them.
What Do Heather Ladybirds Look Like?
Heather Ladybirds, sometimes referred to as two-spot ladybirds, are small, round creatures that measure approximately 3.75 –5mm in length.
They typically have a black-colored body with two red spots in the center of their hard-shelled wings.
Each wing is marked, and on its side are dark-colored legs with distinctive spines.
The larvae of the ladybird are small, black, cigar-shaped creatures with yellow markings.
They are voracious predators and can easily gobble up their prey in a matter of moments.
These beetles are also capable flyers and are able to fly long distances in search of food or mates.
In addition, they tend to move in groups to seek out areas with plentiful amounts of food to feed on.
Despite their tiny size, these beetles are quite strong and even capable of flipping over and righting themselves if they get turned upside down.
Benefits Of Using Heather Ladybirds
Chilocorus bipustulatus is ideally suited for use as a living creature in vivariums due to its appealing looks and stable population.
Its small size makes it an easy addition to any terrarium, and its size and nature also make it easy to care for and maintain.
Moreover, their life cycle is relatively short and their activity cycle is synchronized so they are active during the day and rest during the night.
Adding Heather Ladybirds to an enclosure can help create a lively atmosphere, make them aesthetically pleasing, and provide a food source for the other inhabitants.
Heather Ladybird Facts
Chilocorus bipustulatus is a small beetle with colorful patterns that live in forests of Europe and parts of North America.
They generally feed on aphids and other soft-bodied insects, have a gentle temperament, and have an average lifespan of a few months.
Breeding usually takes place in spring when mating pairs attach to each other and lay hundreds of eggs over a period of several weeks.
The natural habitat of the Heather Ladybird consists of temperate regions, living up in the heathlands, moorlands, grasslands, and forests, but most common near Heather bushes.
Native to Europe, they can also be found in North Africa, North America, Asia, as well as central Arabian Peninsula.
Heather Ladybirds are scavengers that usually feed on other small insects like aphids, scale-like insects, and thrips.
They also have been known to occasionally eat pollen grains, algae, and small amounts of honeydew for additional sustenance.
Additionally, these little bugs are known to occasionally supplement their diets with fungi and plant juices.
Although these insects possess the ability to undergo short periods of fasting, in the wild, what they are eating can vary according to the availability of food sources in their environment.
Chilocorus bipustulatus is a peaceful beetle commonly found around humans and animals.
Despite its tiny size, it stands out due to its vibrant colors and friendly attitude.
It is a largely harmless critter and it is very rare to find one that will bite or sting.
In fact, they typically won’t move about when you try to touch them.
They are social creatures and enjoy the company of other Heather Ladybirds.
So, if you plan to keep one in a terrarium, it is best to house it with a few others of its kind.
As for their interactions with other animals, the lady beetles are quite friendly.
For instance, they have been known to snag on the legs of passing birds, which bare them momentary transportation around the area in order to explore and search for food.
They tend to get along with other bugs, however, it is always best to use caution when placing two species of insects in the same habitat.
Always research the personality and dietary requirements of each of the species you decide to cohabitate with before housing them together.
Heather Ladybirds have an average lifespan of around three months if given the proper care.
Like other ladybird species, they undergo four stages of development as they move through their life cycle – the egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages.
To begin, female Chilocorus bipustulatus lay yellow ovoid eggs on the underside of leaves or in cracks and crevices.
The young larvae emerge after a few days and are supported by a small white cushion which protects them from predators.
As they munch away on their prey, they gradually develop into pupae, and after prolonged periods of inactivity in and out of the pupal stage, they eventually mature into adult ladybirds.
Chilocorus bipustulatus usually have two generations in a year, with the first generation appearing in mid-spring.
Their mating process usually starts in April and goes on till June.
They lay their eggs near food sources, such as aphids, and the eggs hatch after two weeks.
When temperatures are cooler, the Heather Ladybirds may enter a diapause state where they do not reproduce.
They may also enter diapause when aphid populations are low and the availability of food sources is limited.
Where To Find Heather Ladybirds
Finding a Heather Ladybird in the wild can be difficult, as they are usually found in meadows or grasslands in temperate climates.
The most common time to find them in the wild is during the spring and early summer months.
If you are unable to find the ladybug in the wild, you can usually purchase them for sale from an insect or reptile store.
Depending on the breeder, they can often be found as adults, though some breeders may only offer baby specimens for sale.
Heather Ladybird Care
When caring for Heather Ladybirds, make sure to provide them with the right environment, feed them their appropriate diet, and maintain optimal temperatures and humidity levels.
Additionally, remember to control predators and diseases with proper precautions, propagate them when necessary, and monitor their behavior.
With proper care, these unique beetles will thrive in your collection!
For Chilocorus bipustulatus, the ideal tank should provide plenty of space for the beetle to move around.
A vertical tank of a few gallons or more can provide an optimal environment, as well as plenty of room to climb.
As for temperature, the tank should be kept between 62-85 degrees Fahrenheit with 75-85% humidity.
When it comes to water pH levels, 6.5-7.2 would be ideal.
As for terrarium lighting, you should provide your beetle with indirect lighting for 12 hours a day.
Lastly, ensure that the tank has a few hiding spots for the Heather Ladybird to rest and perch in.
What Do Heather Ladybirds Eat?
Caring for Heather Ladybirds should include providing them with food.
Feeding ladybugs is relatively simple, however, it’s a good habit to provide them with the right nutrition.
Here’s how to feed these fascinating beetles:
- Provide a variety of different materials. If they eat aphids, you can offer them aphid-infested plants or these small insects directly. Aside from aphids, they’ll also feed on meals of soft-bodied insects, like scales and larvae.
- Provide a bowl filled with fresh water. This should be available at all times, as they need moisture to survive.
- If you’re keeping them in an enclosure, mist the enclosure with fresh water several times a week.
- Offer them small pieces of fruit or leafy materials for additional nutrients.
- Use shallow dishes, like cupcake liners or similar containers, as they cannot climb up or over anything that is too deep.
- Make sure to replace vegetables, fruits, and other food items that are beginning to dry out or spoil as they lack the ability to regulate their moisture intake.
That’s it! Taking these simple steps will ensure that Chilocorus bipustulatus is adequately nourished.
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.
Best Tankmates For Heather Ladybirds
When caring for Chilocorus bipustulatus, it’s good to pick some suitable tankmates who can coexist peacefully.
Some excellent choices include other species of ladybirds, as well as leaf beetles and spined soldier bugs.
These bug-eating insects have similar beneficial qualities, such as protecting plants from disease and consuming harmful insect pests.
Along with beneficial insects, certain species of millipedes can also make great tankmates for Heather Ladybirds.
They help keep the Heather Ladybird’s environment clean by eating debris and decaying insects that the lady beetle may not be able to reach.
Plus, many of them are quite colorful, making a striking and unique display.
Stay away from aggressive species of reptiles and other amphibians, as they may try to consume the beetles.
Stick to the tankmates mentioned above and your little charges should be safe and happy in their new environment.
Taking care of Heather Ladybirds can be incredibly rewarding and satisfying.
Not only does it bring the joy of observing the beetles, but it can also help protect the environment by allowing them to contribute to the natural pest control cycle.
With proper care and monitoring, you’ll ensure that Chilocorus bipustulatus is healthy, happy, and safe.