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What Is the State Insect of Ohio? How Was it Decided?

spotted ladybugs on plant

Ohio is a cheerfully red state, from the carnations to the Ohio State Buckeyes’ primary colors. The state insect of Ohio is no different. It’s the lucky, happy spring and summertime favorite—the ladybug.

Ladybugs have quite a few different meanings and an exciting history. Find out how Ohio selected this bug for representation.

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The Decision to Choose the Ladybug

The ladybug, actually the ladybird beetle, was chosen in 1975 to represent the state of Ohio. Effectively taking the title of the state insect, the ladybird beetle is an open title. That means there are several different species of ladybug within one category.

The ladybug is an obvious choice of representation for the state. This insect resides in all 88 counties of Ohio. The ladybird beetle eats smaller pests that can ruin crops such as aphids. Many farmers enjoy having these ladybird beetles around because they are immensely efficient predators.

Why Was the Ladybug Selected?

The Ohio General Assembly said that the ladybug was chosen as the insect symbol for Ohio for this reason:

“The ladybug is symbolic of the people of Ohio – she is proud and friendly, bringing delight to millions of children when she alights on their hand or arm to display her multi-colored wings, and she is extremely industrious and hearty, able to live under the most adverse conditions and yet retain her beauty and charm, while at the same time being of an estimable value to nature.”

And if that doesn’t say it all, we don’t know what does!

Closeup photo of ladybug on leaf
Image Credit: Pixabay, Pixabay

10 Ladybug Facts

Ladybugs might be small, but they are mighty. Here are some things you might need to learn about them.

1. Ladybugs Aren’t Bugs

The ladybug is actually a beetle. It might walk like a bug and talk like a bug, but the ladybug is anything but. It makes sense once you think about it due to their hard, crunchy exterior and overall bodily makeup. These tiny beetles don’t get very big at all, and all species are relatively the same size.


2. The Term “Ladybug” Is a Nickname.

Ladybug is just this insect’s nickname. The real term for a ladybug is a ladybird beetle. Ladybird beetles are not a cookie-cutter species. There are tons of different ladybird beetles, all with a purpose.


3. There Are Over 450 Species of Ladybird Beetle

There are over 450 species of ladybird beetle in the US and over 5,000 worldwide, all of which have different environmental functions. It is interesting to see the different roles they play in the environment.

ladybug on sunflower
Image Credit: yimphoto, Shutterstock

4. Ladybugs Bleed from Their Knees—Gross!

Have you ever noticed that ladybugs have a smell? You’re not imagining it. Ladybugs actually release a substance from their knees when they are threatened, which creates quite a stink. This is a defense mechanism to make potential predators think that they are sickly, so they will leave them alone.


5. Ladybugs Can Lay Fertile and Infertile Eggs

When ladybugs reproduce, they actually do so very uniquely. A ladybug will have a clutch of eggs, and when the eggs hatch into lava, the larva can feed on the infertile eggs. Every single batch has both fertile and infertile eggs for this purpose.


6. Ladybugs Hibernate in Winter

You will never see ladybugs buzzing around over the winter. When the colder months come, they take cover to hibernate until warmer months arrive. When the season starts to change, ladybugs will look for a warm, secluded spot out of the elements to stay for the winter. They tend to congregate in large groups finding safety in numbers.

Ladybug in leaf
Image Credit: xanatos1000, Pixabay

7. Ladybugs Are a Symbol of Good Luck

Ladybugs symbolize prosperity and good fortune. They are a spiritual symbol, showing the cheerful, vibrant ladybug just making someone’s day with their lucky energy.

Here are some different ladybug interactions with their meanings and superstitions:

  • Yellow ladybugs symbolize creativity 
  • If a ladybug flies in your mouth, you have a choice to make
  • Catching a ladybug signals progress
  • If a ladybug flies in your hair, it could actually symbolize setbacks and bad luck
  • Finding a dead ladybug signals renewal, rebirth, and hope

However, only you can decide what the ladybug means when it flutters into your life.


8. Ladybugs Play a Vital Role in the Environment

Ladybugs are extremely beneficial to the environment. They are responsible for getting rid of tons of pests that can devastate crops. Herbivorous insects can absolutely devastate entire fields of crops in some cases, so it’s best to keep the population down as much as possible.

While these types of insects are crucial to the environment in some ways, they definitely need to be managed and controlled. It’s beneficial to have such a tiny little soldier on your hands willing to do your bidding.


9. A Single Ladybug Can Eat Over 5,000 Bugs in Its Lifetime

This can be incredibly beneficial to gardeners of any caliber. Considering the number of ladybugs you see in the spring and summer months, it could blow your mind how many smaller insects you’ll never see these ladybugs consume.

Ladybug
Image Credit: Myriams-Fotos, Pixabay

10. Ladybugs Are One of the Highest Insect Populations in the State

Ohio certainly doesn’t have any shortage of ladybugs. If you look outside at any point in time during the warmer months, it’s a sure thing that you can spot a ladybug. Many of them also like to come into homes at the beginning and tail end of the season.

You might see ladybugs in droves coming in through the window sills and doorways. You can also see them congregating outside on houses and other man-made structures.

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Other Ohio Symbols

Ohio was founded in 1803. Since its birth, it has acquired quite a reputation for being a vastly popular state due to sports, landscapes, and activities.

Ohio has lots of other animals, symbols, and slogans to represent the state. Here are a few extra—notice red is a huge Ohio theme!

Nickname: The Buckeye State, Birthplace of Aviation, The Heart of It All
Motto: With God, all things are possible.
State Flower: Carnation
State Bird: Cardinal
State Fish: Walleye

Even though Ohio is notorious for its beautiful state parks, impressive football team, and beginning aviation with the Wright brothers, it has so much more to offer. Ohio is an interesting state that is densely populated and environmentally vast.

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Final Thoughts

So now you know that the ladybird beetle, more commonly known as the ladybug, is the chosen insect to represent the state of Ohio. Ohioan farmers are very pleased with ladybugs, even though some consider them a nuisance.

The ladybug’s cheerfulness and red color match themes across other parts of the state, like our team colors, the cardinal as the state bird, and carnation flowers.


Featured Image Credit: sunakri, Shutterstock

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