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Among the best-known and best-loved beetles, ladybirds are usually easy to recognise

The commonest are the 2-spot and larger 7-spot Ladybirds, which have the familiar red wing cases with black spots.  Other species come in black-with-yellow-spots and brown-with-white-spots.  The bright colours of Ladybirds warn predators that they taste nasty, which helps them to survive.  They can also exude a pungent fluid to scare off ants, birds and people.  About 50 different species are found in Britain, but some are tiny.

During the winter adults hibernate in cracks, crevices and leaf litter and emerge in April to find a mate. Females lay eggs that hatch after about four days, depending of the temperature.  The blue-black larvae have creamy-yellow spots and look very different to adults.  They eat many aphids and are well known for their natural pest control.  When fully-grown, the larvae pupate and later emerge as adults.

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