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Nature & You: Oklahoma's love affair with ladybugs

With their dark orange shells and fanciful polka dots, ladybugs have a lot of fans. [Oklahoman Archive Photo]
With their dark orange shells and fanciful polka dots, ladybugs have a lot of fans. [Oklahoman Archive Photo]

Who is Oklahoma's sweetheart?

It is a contest where the winner can hardly be challenged. In this particular competition, the winner is the ladybug.

Who among us does not love this winsome little creature?

Ladybugs don't bite or sting. Is there a child out there that has ever hesitated to pick one up and let it crawl up and down his or her arm? I think not.

Gardeners get all weepy-eyed when the discussion turns to ladybugs, these six-legged garden friends are voracious feeders on that pesky garden pest, the aphid. Go into any retail store, and you'll see the ladybug image emblazoned on almost every type of item that is there for sale.

But, whoa!  Hold on!

Do I hear a groan of disapproval?

It is coming from the insects, themselves. Come to find out, not all of the ladybugs are girls.  Understandably, the boys angrily resent being called ladies.

We've also got to acknowledge that ladybugs are actually beetles, technically speaking. This is nowhere close to being related to those insects that scientists would classify as "true bugs."

Well, darn!

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›

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