They Are Not Your Enemy

They're not exactly cute, cuddly little critters.

Some folks say they look like miniature alligators or "ugly, spiky orange-and-black buggy thingies."

Many a novice gardener has glanced at them, smashed them, and yelled "Gotcha! Now stay outta my garden, y'hear?

What they killed were the larvae of lady beetles, aka ladybugs (family Coccinellidae). They're beneficial insects, the good guys (and gals). Both the adults and the larvae of lady beetles feast on aphids and other soft-bodied insects such as scales and mites. 

They are not your enemy.  

And if there are kids in your family, show them this time-lapse video of the Ladybug Life Cycle by TSST. That would be "The Kid Should See This."

"One ladybug can eat up to 5,000 insects in its lifetime!" says TSST. "Most ladybugs have oval, dome-shaped bodies with six short legs. Depending on the species, they can have spots, stripes, or no markings at all."

Spoiler alert: You can't say that "no animals were harmed in the making of this video." Yes, there's some cannibalism. It's not good to be the last egg hatched.