Quick facts

Common name: 7-spot ladybird

Scientific name: Coccinella septempunctata

Family: Coccinellidae

Habitat: woods, parks and gardens

Predators: birds, spiders, larger beetles

Origin: native

What do 7-spot ladybirds look like? 

Adults: as the name suggests, 7-spots have seven black spots in a symmetrical pattern on their bright red wingcases. They have a black thorax (body), black head and white markings and spots on either side of the eyes. They are usually about 6-8cm in length.

Larvae: are brownish-grey in colour, with four pairs of bright orange splotches across their bodies.

Not to be confused with: other species of ladybird. The easiest way to identify them is to count the spots!

7-spot ladybird

Credit: Leslie Newcombe / WTML

What do 7-spot ladybirds eat?

Both adults and larvae feed predominantly on aphids. They do eat other small insects too, but their appetite for aphids make them a favourite with gardeners. A ladybird can munch through 5,000 aphids during its year-long life.

7-spot ladybird larvae

Credit: Sabena Jane Blackbird / Alamy Stock Photo

How do 7-spot ladybirds breed?

Ladybirds usually mate from May, and between June to July females lay their fertilised eggs in bundles on leaves. When the larvae hatch, they feed on aphids until they are ready to pupate. They emerge from pupation as fully grown ladybirds.

Did you know?

In the past, people would eat ladybirds as they believed the yellow fluid they secrete was a good pain killer, and would cure toothache!

Where do 7-spot ladybirds live?

The 7-spot is common and widespread across the UK. It can be found on vegetation in parks, woods, gardens and urban areas.

Signs and spotting tips

The 7-spot ladybird hibernates during the winter months, resting in vegetation, hollow plant stems and garden sheds. You can spot it when it emerges in spring, usually from March to April, in search of food. They’re very common so look out for them in woods and urban areas.

Did you know?

The name ‘ladybird’ comes from Christianity in which the ‘lady’ is the Virgin Mary and the red colour of the insect is her cloak. The seven spots are her seven joys and seven sorrows.

7-spot ladybird underside

Credit: Pauline Smith / WTML

Threats and conservation

The 7-spot is the UK's most common ladybird and not a species of conservation concern.