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As soon as the temperatures are a bit warmer in spring or autumn, different beetles appear. Occasionally there are red beetles with black dots, which are usually beneficial.

In a nutshell

  • the Asian ladybird is spreading rapidly in Europe
  • the most common black spotted beetles in the garden are ladybird species
  • the fire bug occurs in large groups but is a beneficial creature
  • the twenty-four spotted ladybird is a pest in the garden as it feeds on cultivated plants

Types from A - C

Asian ladybird (Harmonia axyridis)

  • Length: 6 - 8 mm
  • Appearance: smooth shiny elytra; yellowish pronotum with a black drawing in the middle that looks like an M or W
  • Food: Aphids in very large quantities, various insects including native ladybirds
  • Special features: introduced from East Asia for pest control, widespread in Europe since the beginning of the 21st century

Notice: The Asian ladybird has many color morphs, which also earned it the German name Harlequin ladybird. A red beetle with a variable number of black spots is just one of the colorings they can take on.

Ant leaf beetle (Clytra laeviuscula)

Source: Tomasz Górny (Nemo5576), IMG 2805 Clytra laeviuscula, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.5
  • Length: 7-11mm
  • Appearance: oblong shape, reddish to orange-colored base tone, 2 small black spots in the shoulder area, 2 large oval spots in the middle of the elytra
  • Food: hawthorn, ash, willow
  • Special features: Larvae feed in ant nests on larval food or ant waste products

Ant seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella magnifica)

This red beetle with black spots is a very good example of symbiosis, as it prefers to be close to ant colonies, knowing that the ants tend to the aphids on plants.

  • Length: 6-8mm
  • Appearance: mostly 7 points, sometimes 5 - 11 points, white spots after middle and hind legs
  • Food: aphids
  • Special features: visually distinguishable from the seven-spot ladybird only by the white spots

Eyespot Ladybird (Anatis ocellata)

  • Length: 8-9mm
  • Appearance: 10 black irregular points with a white and yellow border
  • Food: Aphid species on conifers

Types of D - G

Thirteen-spotted marsh ladybird (Hippodamia tredecimpunctata)

Source: Gilles San Martin, Hippodamia tredecimpunctata, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Length: 5 - 7mm
  • Appearance: elongated body shape, 13 black dots, yellowish pronotum with a black central spot
  • Food: aphids
  • Special features: prefers wet biotopes with special plants such as sedges, rushes, reeds, willows

Eleven spotted ladybird (Coccinella undecimpunctata)

  • Length: 4-5mm
  • Appearance: 7-11 black dots, occasionally the dots merge or have a yellowish border
  • Food: Aphids, preferably scale insects
  • Special features: Ladybird braconid as a parasitic enemy

Fire bug (Pyrrhocoris apterus)

  • Length 6.5 - 12mm
  • Appearance: 2 prominent large black dots, 2 smaller black spots, 1 large black triangle after nape, 1 spot on nape and abdomen
  • Food: seeds of linden, mallow, black locust, dead insects
  • Special features: occurs in large groups, not a plant pest

Tip: If these red beetles are a nuisance to your garden, you can prevent a mass occurrence simply by clearing the foliage from beneath their favorite food plants in the fall.

Five-spot ladybird (Coccinella quinquepunctata)

Source: Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium, Coccinella quinquepunctata (10914526086), edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Length: 3 - 5mm
  • Appearance: 1 large and 2 small black dots per elytra, 1 large central spot with 2 lateral white spots
  • Food: aphids
  • Special features: Appearance similar to the seven-spot ladybug, but much smaller

Spotted willow leaf beetle (Chrysomela vigintipunctata)

Source: M. Kunz, Willingen, Spotted Willow Leaf Beetle Chrysomela vigintipunctata P6010328, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Length: 6.5 - 8.5mm
  • Appearance: 10 black oval dots per elytra
  • Food: willows, poplars, birches, alders
  • Special features: Basic color varies whitish, yellowish and reddish

Types of H - O

Heart-spotted hooded leaf beetle (Cryptocephalus cordiger)

Source: Siga, Cryptocephalus cordiger up, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Length: 5.5 - 6.5mm
  • Appearance: heart-shaped white spot on a black background on the pronotum, 2 black spots on each elytra
  • Food: oaks, hazels, birches, various rose plants such as spirea
  • Special features: The larvae's housing consists of their own sticky excrement

Scarce (Spilostethus saxatilis)

  • Length: 8.5 - 12.5mm
  • Appearance: black spots of various shapes, dotted with black and red at the rear edge
  • Food: Spleenworts, daisy family, umbelliferae
  • Special features: species of bug capable of flying, distribution as far as central Germany, only rarely in northern Germany

Cross-banded fungus beetle (Mycetina cruciata)

  • Length: 3.8-4.5mm
  • Appearance: four black spots that merge into a cross in older specimens
  • Food: Mushrooms such as tinder fungus, red-edged tree fungus, flat polypore, butterfly trapete
  • Special features: prefers to live in higher regions above 1300 m, both larvae and beetles feed on fungi

Basket willow leaf beetle (Gonioctena viminalis)

Source: Siga, Gonioctena viminalis front, edited from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Length: 5.5 - 7mm
  • Appearance: elongated black spot on the pronotum, 9 dot stripes on each elytra, up to 5 large spots on the wings
  • Food: pastures
  • Special features: occasional mass infestation in osier crops with correspondingly large damage

Nineteen-spot ladybird (Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata)

Source: Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium, Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata01, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Length: 3 - 4mm
  • Appearance: 19 black spots on the elytra, yellowish pronotum with 6 black spots
  • Food: aphids
  • Special features: preferred habitats in swampy areas or wet biotopes in the garden with near-natural planting

Types of P - U

Poplar ladybird (Oenopia conglobata)

Source: Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium, Oenopia conglobata (4542023280), edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Length: 3.5 - 5mm
  • Appearance: oval body shape, octagonal spots on each elytra, light beige pronotum with 7 black spots
  • Food: aphids
  • Special features: preferred winter quarters in deciduous trees such as poplars, elms or oaks

Knight bug (Lygaeus equestris)

  • Length: 11-12mm
  • Appearance: black spots forming a cross, circular white spot on lower back
  • Food: Sap of milkweed, spring Adonis, dandelion
  • Special features: prefers to eat poisonous plants, whose poison she stores and becomes inedible for predators

Swallowtail bug (Tropidothorax leucopterus)

Source: Hectonichus, Lygaeidae - Tropidothorax leucopterus, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Length: 9-10mm
  • Appearance: two black spots on the back of the head, two triangular spots and semi-oval spots on the sides
  • Food: Milkweed, Cypress Spurge
  • Special features: the warning costume is sufficient that birds do not eat them

Scarlet Puff Beetle (Endomychus coccineus)

  • Length; 4 - 6mm
  • Appearance: oval body, broad black stripe on pronotum, two large black spots on wings
  • Food: Mushrooms or mycelium, rotted leaves
  • Special features: occasional brood parasitism in earth wasps

Seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)

Coccinella septempunctata
  • Length: 5.2 - 8mm
  • Appearance: 3 black spots per elytra, a large black spot in the middle with two white spots on the sides
  • Food: aphids
  • Special features: popular domestic beneficial insect

Types of V - Z

Variable flat ladybird (Hippodamia variegata)

  • Length: 3 - 5.5mm
  • Appearance: rather narrow elongated body, black nape spot with white border, 3 or 6 black dots
  • Food: aphids, scale insects

Twenty-four spotted ladybird (Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata)

Source: AfroBrazilian, Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata 02, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Length: 3 - 4mm
  • Appearance: 3 fused black spots on pronotum, 12 spots on elytra
  • Food: Carnations, beets, potatoes, alfalfa, clover
  • Special features: traces of feeding are only on the upper side of leaves, a female lays up to 300 eggs on forage plants

Notice: Unlike many of its black-spotted red beetle relatives, the twenty-four-spot ladybird is not a beneficial insect, but a pest due to its food preferences.

White spotted ground bug (Melanocoryphus albomaculatus)

Source: Didier Descouens, Melanocoryphus albomaculatus MHNT Fronton, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Length: 6.9 - 7.3mm
  • Appearance: Black head, two hooked black spots on the pronotum, black round spots in the middle of the forewings, white round spot on a dark background on the abdomen
  • Food: Milkweed, Foxglove, Ragweed
  • Special features: only occurs in Central Europe in warm islands with a mild climate

Broom Ladybird (Henosepilachna argus)

Source: Katja Schulz from Washington, D.C., USA, Bryony Ladybird - Flickr - treegrow (2), edited by Plantopedia, CC BY 2.0
  • Length: 6 - 8 mm
  • Appearance: 12 sharply defined black dots, finely and densely haired
  • Food: Cucurbits such as bryony, melons
  • Special features: Feeding damage to host plants, found primarily on bryony in Europe

Two-spotted case beetle (Cryptocephalus bipunctatus)

  • Length: 4-6mm
  • Appearance: Black head and pronotum, 2 large black spots on rear, 2 smaller black spots on shoulder, shiny
  • Food: pollen, leaves of birch, oak, alder, hazel, willow

Two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata)

  • Length: 3 - 5mm
  • Appearance: oval body, black legs, very short antennae, thickened at the end, a black dot in the middle of each elytra
  • Food: aphids, fleas
  • Special features: Color variations with a black base tone and red dots are possible

frequently asked Questions

Are fire bugs able to fly?

Although fire bugs have very small front wings, these are not suitable for flying.

Are color variations common in ladybugs?

Yes, within a species, color variations are not uncommon, which makes identifying the beetles much more difficult.

Do bugs damage plants?

Bug species such as the fire bug do not cause any damage, but if certain species such as the knight bug occur in large numbers, plants can be permanently weakened.

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