Ladybugs are brightly colored to serve as a warning to predators. They release a distasteful chemical to ward off predators.
This species was once found throughout the state and was considered common. The decline went largely unnoticed until the 1980s. The New York range currently includes locations in central, western, and northern New York.
Declines were first noted during the 1980s. The Lost Ladybug Project (Cornell University 2013) reported C. trifasciata at 12 sites.
Abundant data are not available, but this species was once considered common and found throughout New York. The population appears to be lower now than in the early to mid-1900s. The decline went largely unnoticed until the 1980s. Most recent observations indicate a range reduction in New York. The species has been found in central, western, and northern parts of the state (Cornell University 2013).
Agricultural land has been declining in New York since the 1880s resulting is less suitable habitat for lady beetles. Between 1940 and 1997, there was a 57% decline in farmed land in New York (Harmon et al. 2007). Non-native lady beetles are predators of C. trifasciata. In addition, non-native lady beetles are likely outcompeting C. trifasciata for resources. There are several other known pathogens and parasites of Coccinellidae (Graves 2013). Lady beetles appear to be sensitive to pesticide use (Stephens and Losey 2003).
Preservation of farmland would maintain or increase suitable open habitat. Pesticide use should be avoided when possible. If pesticide use cannot be avoided: use chemicals that target only the pest, treat only infested area, and select chemicals that do not persist.
Additional research is needed to determine the effects of competition with other coccinellids, habitat needs, and lab rearing and reintroduction techniques.
Extensive habitat data are not available. Recent observations report the following habitats in New York: meadows/fields (non-agricultural), gardens, yards, hayfields, and bramble fruits (Cornell University 2013).
Historically, three-banded lady beetles were found statewide. The current distribution appears to be reduced to central, western, and northern New York.
Three-banded lady beetle ranges across the northern United States to southern Canada and north to Alaska.
Coccinella trifasciata is a small insect that ranges from 4.0 to 5.0 mm. Males have a pale head with the exception of a black band across the base. Females have a black head with two pale spots. The anterior margin of the pronotum is typically pale with a large ventral pale spot that extends posteriorly as far as the dorsal spot. Elytra have three transverse black bands that are interrupted at the suture (Gordon 1985).
Three-banded lady beetles primarily eat soft-bodied insects, such as aphids. They are also know to eat pollen.
The best time to look for lady beetles is early summer when it isn't too dry. The best places to look include old fields and agricultural land that has not been recently treated with pesticides.
The time of year you would expect to find Three-banded Lady Beetle present and active in New York.
Three-banded Lady Beetle
Coccinella trifasciata Linnaeus, 1758
Cornell University. 2013. “The Lost Ladybug Project.” www.lostladybug.org. (date accessed: December 29, 2013).
Gordon, R. 1985. The Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) of America north of Mexico. Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 93: 1-912.
Graves, D. 2013. "Coccinella transversoguttata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed January 16, 2014 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Coccinella_transversoguttata/
Harmon, J.P., E. Stephens, and J. Losey. 2007. The decline of native coccinellids (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in the United States and Canada. Journal of Insect Conservation. 11: 85-94.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
Poole, R. W., and P. Gentili (eds.). 1996. Nomina Insecta Nearctica: a checklist of the insects of North America. Volume 1 (Coleoptera, Strepsiptera). Entomological Information Services, Rockville, MD. Available online: http://www.nearctica.com/nomina/nomina.htm
Stephens, Erin and John Losey. 2003. The decline of C-9- New York State’s insect. The Xerces Society. Wings: Essays on Invertebrate Conservation. Fall 2003 pp. 8-12.
This guide was authored by: Hollie Y. Shaw
Information for this guide was last updated on: March 30, 2015
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. Online Conservation Guide for Coccinella trifasciata. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/three-banded-lady-beetle/. Accessed March 31, 2023.