Kristi captured three of the four distinct stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult) that the multicolored Asian lady beetle passes through. The alligator-like larvae are voracious eaters of aphids, scale insects, and other soft-bodied invertebrates. Adults are also predators. The average time from egg to adult is about one month and there are multiple generations per year. Adults can live two to three years after emerging from the pupa.
This species of lady beetle was introduced to the US in the early 1900’s to help control aphids. Although non-native, they are still sold for aphid control across the country and are now well established. Unfortunately, they are an aggressive species and have an impact on our native lady beetles. Their color can range from light orange to deep red with the boldness of the spots / patterns being different from individual to individual. The top of the thorax is often pale, with a M-shaped dark spot, but in dark forms it can be black with white outer edges.
Photos by: Kristi DuBois in Missoula, MT: 6/15/21 (larva), 6/22/21 (pupa), 6/4/21 (adult). The adult was a different individual and was included for illustrative purposes.