Ladybug – Meaning and Symbolism

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Ladybugs are one of the most favorite insect species on Earth, along with butterflies and a few more. Insects have always been fascinating to humans, although the greatest majority of them fill us with an unpleasant feeling.

Well, insects are organisms too different from ours that make us difficult fully to understand them and feel connection with them. In some cultures, insects are taken as pets; in others, they are simply a source of nutrients.

Either way, insects are strange to us. In the most traditions, bugs have strong symbolism and are a commonly found motif in spiritual and folk beliefs, in mythology, religious sources and art.

Ladybugs are by far the luckiest of them, since people usually associate them with positive meanings. Ladybugs are tiny and they definitely do not appear scary like spiders or cockroaches, for example.

Ladybugs are found all around the world and are present in numerous traditional sources. They are harmless to us and their lovely appearance provokes happy feelings. It is similar to seeing colorful butterflies, for example.

Overall, people are not particularly fond of bugs and insects in general. They usually represent a nuisance. We do not like insects entering our home or landing on our body.

On one side, it is strange that something so smaller than us could make us feel so uncomfortable and scared; on the other hand, it is known that the greatest threats often come in small bottles.

There are indeed some extremely venomous insects and others that bite and appear particularly gross. Well, tiny spotted ladybugs are not one of those.

Various insects intrigue us because of their exotic, alien look. Others are of very humble appearance and almost unnoticeable. However, the fact is, there are thousands of insects species across the globe. They are the most numerous species in the world. Various insects live just very close. Some of them are actually appreciated and admired by humans.

Butterflies, dragonflies, crickets, grasshoppers and scarabs are some of those. There are many positive superstitions about adorable butterflies. Scarabs are associated with the concept of life and creation; they were much appreciated in Ancient Egypt. Crickets are considered lucky in Chinese tradition; they would often take them as tiny pets or lucky charms.

Ladybugs are amongst those. In fact, they are probably considered the most adorable. Ladybugs are lucky insects. There are various beliefs about them and almost all are of a positive connotation.

Ladybugs bring happy news, fortune and joy into people’s lives. It is especially good if this tiny bug lands on your body. Let us learn more about ladybugs.

About ladybugs

Ladybugs are found across the globe. They belong to Coccinellidae family of beetles. This is a wide group of little hard winged insects. The Latin name actually describes their scarlet red wings, although there are varieties that come in different color.

Coccinellidae belong to the Coleoptera order. This order covers large number of hard winged insects; all of them have kind of armored bodies.

Coleoptera insects are given the flight ability, although most of them are not particularly brilliant fliers. They can fly, put only across short distances. You have definitely seen ladybugs flying; but neither for long nor particularly fast.

If you were paying a special attention to ladybugs’ appearance, you have probably noticed a pair of transparent and very soft small wings under their painted armor.

An interesting fact is that ladybugs are actually not ‘true bugs’. How so? Well, true bugs are of Heteroptera order that counts many species of insects and of which ladybugs are not part.

They are beetles, which is a term commonly misinterpreted as bugs. The difference between beetles and bugs hides in some of their anatomic features, including the difference between their wings, mouthparts and lifecycle.

All ladybugs are small; they have rounded bodies covered in shiny painted armor. When talking about ladybugs, most people usually have in m mind those lovely red ones with black spots. They are always depicted in the same fashion.

For example, a child would always paint them red with black spots and they will most definitely be a part of a pleasant meadow landscape or so.

Just to mention, there are other varieties. There are orange, yellow or black ladybugs, as well. Their spot’s color also varies. They could be all yellow with black spots or black with bright spots.

Some varieties have no spots at all, but people would rarely even consider them as ladybugs. The scarlet little ones take all the fame and glory for themselves.

Why they look like that in the first place? Well, as it is the case with many other species in the animal kingdom, strong and lively colors are often a part of the defense mechanism. In case of many insects, ladybugs included, vibrant colors serve in order to ward of predators.

The Nature made so; the most venomous and poisonous species are marked by flashy colors. They are something of a natural warning sign.

Interestingly, ladybugs indeed are venomous, but it is of no importance to humans.

They cannot do us any harm. Ladybugs are, actually, useful to people. They are much appreciated in agriculture. People have found out ladybugs could be useful back into past.

Where does ladybugs’ name come from?

The Latin name for ladybugs literally describes their appearance. It stands for the scarlet red color of their wings. Their name is different in different languages and parts of the world.

The name ‘ladybugs’ is common in North America.

In Britain, these tiny insects are known by the name of ‘ladybirds’. These two names are the most common for this kind of a beetle.

The British name is a simplified and shortened version for Our Lady’s Bird. Ladybugs are often associated with Our Lady, which is something we will talk about later on. Old depictions of Holy Mary often portray her in a scarlet cloak.

The reddish garment is often decorated with seven black spots, which resemble the ‘decoration’ of red and black European ladybugs.

Americans adopted the name, but they changed it into ‘ladybug’. In other languages, different variations are found. Many of them have similar meaning and associate ladybugs with Mary.

In Germany, ladybugs are called Marienkäfer and it stands for ‘marybeetle’. All names for these tiny beetles carry positive and often religious symbolism. The red ladybug is the most widespread and the most widely known variety that carries all the symbolism and cultural significance.

Ladybugs are widespread throughout the world, so there are various names in different language. For example, in Greek they are known as Paskalitsa. French name is directly derived from Latin and it is coccicinelle.

Malay language names them kumbang, Korean mudangbule. Tentou Mushi is Japanese name for a ladybug. Spanish call it mariquita, while in Portuguese ladybugs are Joaninha.

Interesting facts about ladybugs

Ladybugs are mostly daytime insects. We cheer up seeing them, because they look lovely and have certain calming effect on us.

However, they are extremely useful to people, so that is definitely another reason to appreciate them. While ladybugs are totally benevolent towards humans and cannot harm us in any way, these little ones are a real threat to all sorts of pests that ruin peoples’ crops.

They are tricky and dangerous little fellows. Ladybugs lay eggs in the same environment where ‘bad’ insects organize their colonies. The reason for doing so is simple; ladybugs see to provide their offspring with instant food.

The very type of ladybugs’ ‘fast food’ is not what scares us, but their numbers could damage our crops. Ladybugs play a role in the natural order by reducing their numbers.

Ladybugs are voracious creatures, although they appear so innocent and adorable. One ladybug is capable of eating an amount of food that is twenty times of its own weight. It is not the only thing that makes these tiny beetles impressive.

Ladybugs are associated with springtime, since they mate at that time of year and lay eggs.

Ladybugs lay several hundreds of eggs. Eggs turn into larvae, then into cocoons and finally ladybugs are born. As other tiny creatures, ladybugs do not live long in terms of our counting of time.

Their living cycle extends up to one month. Ladybugs go into hibernation over winter.

They are made so that they can endure freezing temperatures. Glycerin in their tiny bodies saves them from cold temperatures.

Another interesting fact is that generations of ladybugs would gather at the very same spot to oversleep the wintertime. Ladybugs are overall well equipped and resistant beetles, although they cannot fly very well. They are found at all corners of the planet.

People like ladybugs and would rarely hurt them, thanks partially to all sorts of superstitions and actual ladybugs’ purpose in nature.

Superstitions about ladybugs

Here we come to the most interesting part of the story about ladybugs, superstitions and folk beliefs! Ladybugs beliefs and symbolism vary across the globe, but mostly in a positive sense.

There are variations of their name in different traditions. Let us begin with the most popular ladybug related tale, the one about Holy Mary.

The story tells about people who faced poor harvest and bad crops, due to numerous pests. They were sad and desperate, so they prayed to her to help them and restore their lands.

Holy Mary sent them ladybugs. Ladybugs soon exterminated the pests and farmers were forever grateful. In honor of this help and happy event, they named tiny beetles after Virgin Mary.

All variations on the name originate from similar source. Moreover, almost all beliefs about ladybugs have such a positive vibe. There is another side to it; in every tradition and culture it is considered a bad omen to kill or harm a little ladybug.

Positive superstitions about ladybugs are ever present and they only slightly differ. Let us share some of the beliefs.

In France, people believe ladybugs possess healing properties. They believe that ladybugs can ward of all types of pain and even cure diseases. If a ladybug lands on a person who is ill or suffers pain, the illness and suffering would cease.

They believe ladybugs absorb the negative energy; they land on you and take all of it upon flying away.

Ladybugs are commonly considered fortune bringers or indicators of luck. According to one very popular superstition, if you catch a ladybug and them release it, the direction in which the beetle has flown away could direct you towards something that will bring you happiness in near future.

All sorts of agricultural superstitions are associated with ladybugs and, particularly, the number of spots on their hard armor.

Interestingly, if you see a ladybug decorated by more than seven spots, it is not a good sign for your crops; it is a sign of poor harvest.

More than seven spots represent an exaggeration anomaly and thus are connected with negative concepts, such as draughts, famine and so on. On the other hand, less than seven spots are considered a good omen.

In Belgium, ladybugs are associated with love and marriage. According to a popular belief, a ladybug is a sign of future marriage. If it lands on a young women’s hand, it suggest she would probably get married in the same year.

In Switzerland, ladybugs are associated with birth. They have a strange saying. A widespread saying tells that children are brought by strokes. Well, Swiss ascribe this fortunate event to ladybugs.

Asian people also favor ladybugs and consider them fortunate little ones. They believe ladybugs are insects of magical powers. They say ladybugs are connected with divine energies and that they can even understand human language.

They consider ladybugs luck and fortunate. Innumerous other systems, ladybugs are associated with good weather and pleasant times.

Ladybugs are commonly associated with all sorts of fortunate events. You are probably familiar with at least some of the Victorian England awkward beliefs. They were masters of all sorts of strange beliefs and explanations.

According to Victorians, a ladybug that land on one’s hand means that person will get a lovely pair of gloves. If it is your head it lands on, you should expect a fashionable new hat.

All sorts of strange beliefs come from this crazy nineteenth century ear. There was even a belief that mashed ladybugs could cure toothache. Poor ladybugs and it really sounds gross.

In Norway, however, ladybugs are associated with romantic feelings, just as in some other traditions. Norwegians believe ladybugs kind of match two people together.

They say that if a man and a woman see this adorable beetle at the same time, they will definitely fall for one another. Ladybugs are also commonly associated with fortune and richness.

Here is another one about ladybugs’ spots. The number of the spots foretell the amount of money one would get; namely the dollars number.

Pioneers thought ladybugs bring good luck if you see it in winter.

Are ladybugs truly fortunate?

Well, no one can say that for sure, just as the case is with all superstitions. People often connect some happy events that happen to them with certain phenomena from recent past.

For example, they see a ladybug and the following day they hear some really exciting and good news. Did the ladybug bring positive energy into their life? Maybe it did, maybe not.

It always depends on how ready you are to believe in it.

Nevertheless, ladybugs are surely one of the most positive motifs in traditions from across the whole globe. It definitely makes them fortunate.

Only thinking about something in a positive manner inspires good thoughts, pleasant feelings, relaxes people and makes them feel fine. In that sense, we could agree ladybugs are indeed lucky.

Adding a spiritual or religious touch to them makes them even more precious and fortunate.

In many countries, ladybugs are considered a blessing, being associated with Holy Mary.

There are beliefs that say ladybugs are an unfortunate sign. Such beliefs are always related to something that is not right about the very conception people have on ladybugs. For example, a ‘wrong’ number of spots.

Harming or killing ladybugs is never considered a good things to do. The same is with butterflies and other ‘beloved’ insects.

If you kill the fortune bringer, well, obviously it will not turn good on you, if you believe superstitions. If a ladybug lands on your body, do not chase it away!

Let it fly away on its own. It perhaps carries some great news or it suggests you will unexpectedly get some money. Maybe a new hat!

Ladybugs are rare insects people are not afraid of, which definitely contribute to positive interpretations and overall fortunate symbolism. Ladybug motifs could be some sort of lucky charms that attract good fortune.

Therefore, you can wear a broche or another jewelry piece resembling a ladybug. Place a painting with a ladybug at your home, buy your kids a ladybug toy or a coloring book with ladybugs.

Even if you are a strictly rational person and do not buy any superstitious beliefs, you have to admit ladybugs are indeed lovely creatures. They are fascinating little ones!

Next time you see one, think about how perfect and impressive nature is, creating such a lovely little being.

If you are a more spiritual one, consider it a very fortunate omen. Either way, this adorable beetle cannot bring you any bad luck.