These colorful ladybeetles (Coccinella novemnotata) have long been a cheerful sight to gardeners and farmers, since they devour pests almost non-stop during their lives. Although ladybugs may seem slow and defenseless, their bright colors warn would-be predators that they taste awful. Birds and most other animals stay clear as the beetles hunt relentlessly for aphids.
Once a common sighting in North America, the nine-spotted ladybug is now rarely seen, perhaps displaced by habitat changes or the arrival of invasive competitors.
Citizen scientists like you can help track and support this species at www.lostladybug.org - and by leaving aphids on some of your yard plants, to provide them with a welcoming banquet.