Most lady beetles eat aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, mites and other tiny soft-bodied arthropods. Others eat mushrooms and a few species, sometimes considered pests, feed on leaves.
Certain adult lady beetles can consume up to 60 aphids per day. It comes as no surprise, then, that they are widely seen as leading biological control agents!
More than 175 exotic lady beetle species have been intentionally imported to North America in an effort to naturally control insect pests. Some have adapted so well that they are displacing native species, causing a loss in biodiversity. Moreover, other accidentally introduced lady beetles have succeeded in establishing themselves on this continent and are now themselves considered pests when infestations occur.
Some lady beetles secrete an odorous body fluid to keep enemies away. In adults, this offensive fluid seeps out of their leg joints, while in larvae, it is released from abdominal glands.