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If you observe nature carefully in autumn, you will see many ladybugs on house walls, plants and balcony railings. Because now the time has come when the little lucky charms are looking for suitable winter quarters. Since ladybugs only hibernate alone in exceptional cases, they form groups and even large swarms to find protection from the cold season. In addition, they also find their sexual partner for the spring in large aggregations and can thus ensure the continued existence of the species.

species and eating habits

The ladybird family (Coccinellidae) consists of around 4,000 species. A good 70 species are native to this country. The best-known species is the seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata). The insects feed mainly on aphids and/or scale insects, but spider mites, bugs and the larvae of beetles and sawflies are also on their menu. They belong to the beneficial insects and are bred for biological pest control.


Depending on the species, Coccinellidae survive the cold season in the form of hibernation or hibernation. When the ambient temperature drops to around 12°C, the beetles' breathing and heart rate slow down and they hibernate. The animals go into hibernation when the outside temperature falls to zero degrees Celsius and below. The body temperature is then around zero degrees and all important organs work on the "low flame". Species that do not hibernate protect themselves from the freezing temperatures with fat deposits. They also huddle close together to keep each other warm.


In order to get through the winter, those ladybird species that do not hibernate build up fat deposits from which they feed throughout the winter. If the temperatures rise to around 8 °C for a longer period of time in winter, the little beetles wake up and go in search of food. And this natural behavior can be deadly for the beetles, as they cannot find food in winter and their fat reserves are used up too early.

winter quarters

Ladybugs prefer cavities for hibernation because they can make themselves really comfortable there. It is important that the roost is warm and humid. Therefore, cracks in the wall or rafters are a good place for them to spend the winter. But the lucky charms don't just find suitable winter quarters at the house. You can also offer the little beetles an ideal shelter for the cold season in the garden. For example, ladybugs like to use a pile of leaves to hibernate. Other ideal winter quarters for the little beetles are:

  • tree hollows
  • tree bark splits
  • taller grass
  • insect hotels
  • under layers of moss or under stones
insect hotel

wintering aids

If you don't have a garden, you can offer the insects a hibernation aid on the balcony. To do this, drill an entry hole with a diameter of about 8 millimeters in a wooden box that is about 10 by 10 centimeters in size. Line the inside of the wooden box with wood wool and/or autumn leaves. A water guard at the top of the box protects the insects from rain.

tip: So that the little beetles can find their winter quarters, you should set them up higher. It is best to put it in a balcony box or planter with a sturdy stick.

Overwintering in human habitation

If autumn and winter are cold from the point of view of the lucky charms, then they stay in their winter quarters until next spring. When the temperature rises, they leave their winter quarters and go in search of food. Because the warmer weather signals to the ladybugs that spring has come. So it can happen that ladybugs get lost in human living quarters when searching for food in winter. However, as they will not find any food there, this is not a good option for the little bugs. In addition, their activity increases with every degree Celsius, which in turn means that their fat reserves are used up even faster.

Therefore, the best way to help stray ladybugs is to bring them back outside. Because there they hibernate as soon as the temperatures drop again. So that the small beetles do not freeze to death, you should expose them to suitable winter quarters.

tip: If the temperature difference between inside and outside is very large, then you should offer the lucky charms a chance to get used to the outside temperatures. A sheltered shed or conservatory is ideal for this.


Be careful with the small bugs when catching and releasing them. If several of the little beetles have strayed into their living quarters, you can also catch the insects with a vacuum cleaner and a sock with rubber cuffs:

  • Put the cuffs on the end of the suction pipe
  • Press the rest of the sock inside the suction tube to act as a safety net
  • suck up the animals with very weak sow performance
  • close the sock
  • Turn off the vacuum cleaner
  • Carefully pull the sock out of the suction tube
  • Release the beetle in a suitable place by gently shaking the sock

house hibernation

If there is no way to abandon the animals, you can also offer them their home as winter quarters. However, you must then also for appropriate food sources ensure, to care. One possibility is to bring the animals close to plants that are infested by aphids or spider mites during the winter. If this source of food has dried up, then you should buy special rearing kits for ladybugs in stores. They contain food that is also suitable for adult beetles.

tip: Overwintering indoors should only be done in emergencies, as it does not correspond to the natural life cycle of insects.

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