Larch Ladybirds are a very unusual variation of the ladybug species.
The best way to describe them would be to say they look like an old wooden toy version of the common ladybird most of us are used to seeing.
This tiny species of ladybug is native to the United Kingdom, and with the right care, you can have these graceful creatures as part of your family.
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about keeping Aphidecta obliterata as a pet, from understanding their life cycle to feeding them properly.
Let’s get started!
|Common Name||Larch Ladybird|
|Scientific Name||Aphidecta obliterata|
|Use||Pest Control, Pets|
|Lifespan||1 to 3 months|
|Adult Size||3.5–5 mm|
|Breeding Type||Egg Layer|
|Minimum Tank Size||5 Gallon|
What Are Larch Ladybirds?
Aphidecta obliterata, also known as the Larch ladybird, is a species of beetle found primarily in the UK.
The colorful beetle is commonly known as the Larch Ladybird due to its preference for larch trees since they tend to feed on the sap of the tree.
This species of ladybird belongs to a larger family of beetles, the Coccinellidae, which also includes other types of common ladybugs.
They have a predominantly carnivorous diet, so they’re particularly adept at controlling smaller insect populations.
What Do Larch Ladybirds Look Like?
Aphidecta obliterata has an average size of around 3.5 to 5 mm, and their brilliant black and brownish colors give them fantastic camouflage when moving through foliage.
The wings are narrow and fringed, and the thorax has several spots that are a unique shade of orange.
The small size of the Larch Ladybird means that its legs and antennae are also proportionately tiny.
The antennae come out from the head and are thin and straight, reaching out from the body in four distinct sections.
The ladybird’s feet are divided into three distinct toes that are adapted for agility and precision when walking on foliage.
Benefits Of Using Larch Ladybirds
Aphidecta obliterata is an ideal choice for vivariums due to its colorful and vibrant appearance.
With their uncommon coloration, they bring a vibrantly unique touch of life to any habitat.
Furthermore, Larch Ladybirds are relatively easy to care for and easy to breed, and their diet includes mainly pests and small insects.
They provide beneficial services to the enclosure such as keeping aphid populations in check, providing a fascinating insect to observe, and even breaking down organic matter, making them excellent detritivores for a natural ecosystem.
Having one of these bugs in your tank will make it look more lively and complete.
Larch Ladybird Facts
Aphidecta obliterata is a small, black-spotted bug with reddish wings found throughout Europe.
This species likes to feed on smaller bugs and thrives in both indoor and outdoor environments.
The Larch Ladybird has a lifespan of up to several months, is a solitary creature, and is capable of self-reproducing.
With proper care, their vibrant colors and unique appearance can make them great and rewarding pets.
The Larch Ladybird is a species of ladybird that is native to the United Kingdom.
It is mainly found in larch woodlands, which are characterized by a densely wooded environment.
It is typically found on the bark of larch trees, as well as other surfaces like moss and lichen.
As a species, the Larch Ladybird prefers cooler climates and grows best in humid conditions with plenty of shade.
The Larch Ladybird is known to consume and feed on aphids, which have become a pest in many Larch forests.
As a result, the presence of these ladybirds helps protect larch woodlands from an infestation of aphids.
Due to their small size, Aphidecta obliterata can consume large numbers in a short amount of time, making them beneficial to gardeners.
They also feed on the leaves of larch trees, which is where they get their name.
In addition to aphids and larch leaves, they also enjoy the sugary secretions of some aphid species as well as pollen from flowers.
While in their natural habitat, the Larch Ladybirds have been known to feed on the pupae of other insects such as green flies and caterpillars.
In the winter, they enter diapause, indicating a period of dormancy.
During this time, they may rely on stored energy and fat reserves to make it through the cold season.
Larch Ladybirds will also consume nectar and juices from other sources when aphid populations are low in the winter months.
Aphidecta obliterata is quite shy in nature and timid around humans and other animals.
Remember that Larch Ladybirds can become easily stressed and overstimulated if not handled properly by respectful individuals.
When it comes to having other animals in close proximity, one should take caution so as to not agitate a ladybird.
Although these bugs are not known for being particularly aggressive, they will defend themselves if provoked.
In the right conditions and environment, Aphidecta obliterata can be quite social. A well-stocked tank may provide ample room for multiple lady beetles to interact without fear of harm or aggression.
They prefer to remain on the ground and not fly, so other flying insects should be kept in a separate enclosure.
The environment should be kept warm and the humidity level monitored to ensure the Larch Ladybirds remain comfortable.
With these conditions in place, one may be able to observe their interactive behaviors, such as head-bumping, which is a sign of affection.
The average lifespan of a Larch Ladybird is a few weeks to a few months.
During this time, they will go through three major phases: the egg stage, the larval, or nymph stage, and the adult stage.
During the egg stage, an adult Larch Ladybird will lay dozens of small yellow eggs near or on a food source, such as aphids or other small bugs.
These eggs typically hatch within four to ten days. In the larval stage, the larvae feed on smaller insects or plant material to grow.
After a few more weeks in the larval stage, the larvae begin to molt and transform into adults.
As adults, the Aphidecta obliterata are able to reproduce in just a few days.
The Larch Ladybird’s adult lifespan is usually a few weeks to a few months, depending on the living conditions and food availability.
The female Larch Ladybirds reproduce at least once in their lifespan and can lay several dozen eggs.
Once the eggs hatch, the cycle begins again, and the adults will typically die shortly before the next generation is ready to go.
When it comes to reproducing, the Larch Ladybird mimics many other species of ladybugs.
It begins in the summer when males seek out potential mates.
They typically congregate around wooded areas, where they then start to court potential mates.
To do this, the males will give off a pheromone to attract other ladybugs, and the females will typically respond with their own pheromone.
If successful, the male and female will mate and the female will lay a clutch of eggs, anywhere from 100 to 200 eggs, in the summertime.
The eggs typically hatch after two weeks, resulting in an entire generation of Larch Ladybirds.
Where To Find Larch Ladybirds
Finding a Larch Ladybird is the first step in becoming a responsible owner.
Generally, you can find these beetles in the wild either actively or under the bark of larch trees during the summer months.
It is good to remember to never take more than you need, so as not to disrupt local habitats, and to be sure to check with local regulations to make sure you are keeping your pet within the law.
If you are looking for a more controlled setting, you may consider purchasing Aphidecta obliterata from a breeder or pet store.
Most breeders and pet stores will provide a reputable stock of beetles in a variety of sizes and colors, allowing you to find the perfect companion.
Larch Ladybird Care
Aphidecta obliterata’s diet should consist of aphids, small bugs, and other soft-bodied insects.
Additionally, you should also check the premises for predators and pests to ensure the safety of your pet.
Lastly, it is a good habit to understand the egg cycle and lifecycle of the Larch Ladybird in order to provide them with the best quality care.
The ideal tank requirements for Larch Ladybirds include a vivarium-type tank with a lid, as they like to climb.
A water bowl should also be included.
The water’s pH should be between 7.0 and 8.0, with a hardness rating of 4-10 dKH.
The temperature should be between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
For terrarium lighting, a 12-hour light cycle with 7-8 hours of UVB light daily will help in simulating their natural environment.
What Do Larch Ladybirds Eat?
Feeding Aphidecta obliterata is an essential part of providing optimal care and a healthy environment.
Larch Ladybirds prefer to feed on live soft-bodied insects, such as aphids, caterpillars and flies.
You can also supplement their diet with commercial diets or other nutritious foods such as dried mealworms, waxworms, and small pieces of fruit.
Do not overfeed your lady beetles as this can cause them to become obese and lead to health complications.
In addition to providing the right type of food, make sure you provide a clean and hygienic environment for your Larch Ladybird.
Provide fresh fruits and vegetables daily, along with clean water.
Avoid feeding A. obliterata anything that is moldy, bruised, or has been exposed to pesticides.
Here is a list of foods your Larch Ladybird can eat:
• Dried Mealworms
• Small pieces of fruit
• Fresh vegetables
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 Larch Ladybirds
Tankmates for a Larch Ladybird can include beneficial insects such as Habitat Buddies and Lacewings, or even other ladybirds.
These insects are naturally attracted to aphids (the primary food source of many ladybirds) and can help control the population of this pest in the tank.
In addition to these helpful insects, small aquarium fish, such as guppies, neon tetras, and other peaceful species, can provide a natural balance to the ecosystem in a paludarium.
Finally, predatory insects such as dragonfly nymphs, damselflies, and worms may be suitable companions, as they will help keep the environment clean and will also feed on the aphids.
All of these tankmates should be carefully chosen to ensure the health and well-being of the Aphidecta obliterata, but the presence of these beneficial insects or small fish can help create an optimal environment for them.
Overall, having a Larch Ladybird in your home is both fun and rewarding.
They are easy to care for and offer a gentle presence to enhance your daily life.
Plus, their amazing ability to consume pests while helping to keep your garden healthy is an added bonus.
With this comprehensive guide, you will be able to provide the Larch Ladybird with the love and care they deserve, and you will be rewarded with a loving companion that will bring many years of joy and entertainment.
Frequently Asked Questions
A larch ladybug (Aphidecta obliterata) is an insect species of the family Coccinellidae that feeds on aphids.
The larch ladybug (Aphidecta obliterata) has a wide range of habitats, including coniferous forests, parks, gardens, meadows, and agricultural land.