Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Brookings, South Dakota » Integrated Cropping Systems Research » NCARL Links » Research on the Coccinellidae—lady(bird) beetles

Research on the Coccinellidae—lady(bird) beetles
headline bar
1 - Research on the Coccinellidae—lady(bird) beetles
2 - Lady Beetles of Hawai‘i

Welcome to Research on the Coccinellidae!


The Coccinellidae, or lady(bird) beetles, are mainly considered beneficial, with about 90% of the species feeding on primarily aphids, scale insects, whiteflies, mealy bugs, and mites (Giorgi et al. 2009). Thus, they are important biological control agents of such arthropod pests (Obrycki and Kring 1998). Other species of lady beetles feed on fungi or plants. Some of the species that feed on plants are considered pests.

There are approximately 6,000 species of Coccinellidae worldwide (Vandenberg 2002), and about 500 species in North America north of Mexico (Gordon 1985, Vandenberg 2002).

Regional lists of lady beetles:

Coccinellids in Decline

Some species of coccinellids seem to be less abundant than they were previously in North America, including Coccinella novemnotata (ninespotted lady beetle), Coccinella transversoguttata richardsoni (transverse lady beetle), and Adalia bipunctata (twospotted lady beetle). If you find one of these 3 species in South Dakota or neighboring states, please let me know (WANTED POSTER - PDF*). Populations of Hippodamia convergens (convergent lady beetle) have also declined in the northeastern United States. Sometimes, these species in decline are referred to as "Lost Lady Beetles" or "Lost Ladybugs."  The Lost Ladybug Project* was developed to search for declining species, and it relies heavily on citizen scientists to spot lady beetles throughout North America. Funding for the LLP has come from the National Science Foundation.

Recently, we published a Frontiers in Conservation Science article with results from 14 years (2007-2020) of sampling lady beetles by sweepnet and timed searches in five field crops and restored prairie in eastern South Dakota  (*). In all, 17,099 predatory lady beetles comprising 10 species were sampled.  Annual abundance of lady beetles varied considerably within habitats, but declining trends were evident from significant negative regressions in annual abundance for adult and immature lady beetles in corn and adults in soybean. As a group, native adult lady beetles showed a significant declining trend in corn but not in other habitats, whereas trends for non-native lady beetles were non-significant in all habitats. Sample rates of lady beetles in alfalfa, spring grains, and corn in this study were 71%, 25% and 6%, respectively, compared that of a previous study from the region, further indicating substantial decreases in lady beetle abundance.

Visit this PDF link for a list of my publications regarding the Coccinellidae over the last ≈15 years.

 The user-friendly address for this website is:  /npa/coccinellidae

This site designed and maintained by Louis Hesler, North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory, USDA-ARS, 2923 Medary Avenue, Brookings, SD, USA, 57006. Phone +1 605-693-5228; E-mail:

* Denotes external link

[1] 2 Next >>