Ladybugs, also called lady beetles, are favored insects by gardeners. These small beetles protect fruit and vegetables by consuming small pests such as aphids and sap eaters. For ladybugs there may be slight differences in length and color. Some ladybugs do not even have spots. However since there are beetles that are similar in some physical characteristics to the ladybug, people can become confused.
Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle
The Asian lady beetle can range in color from yellow and orange to red. These beetles may or may not have black spots on the wing cover. You can tell the difference between a ladybug and an Asian lady beetle by looking at the markings behind the head. There is a small dark "m" or "w" mark behind the head. This beetle, like the ladybug, is beneficial to plants since it also feeds on small pests. However, unlike the ladybug, the Asian lady beetle will hibernate in the winter. Homeowners may find this beetle to be a nuisance since it can infest homes looking for a warm place to hibernate.
Mexican Bean Beetle
Mexican bean beetles physically resemble larger ladybugs. Their bodies are either orange or copper colored and are decorated with eight spots on each wing cover. These beetles measure about 1/4 inch in length. These beetles, however, are not beneficial to a gardener like ladybugs. Mexican bean beetles will destroy crops since they feed on plant pods, stems and the underside of leaves.
Pink Spotted Lady Beetle
Pink spotted lady beetles can measure 1/4 inch in length. Though these ladybugs are not yellow or orange, they are often confused by many as a true ladybug. Pink spotted lady beetles have oblong pink to red bodies that are marked with six black spots on each wing cover. Like their ladybug counterpart, they also eat small pests. The only difference between a pink spotted lady beetle and a ladybug is the additional component to a pink spotted beetle's diet. Pink spotted beetles consume plant pollen, which makes up 50 percent of their diet.
Squash beetles have the same round shape as the ladybug, however they are much larger than ladybugs, often measuring about 3/8 inch in length. These beetles are yellow colored and can have up to seven black spots on their wing cover. These beetles are not garden friendly and will destroy crops and plants belonging to the melon family. This can include squash, pumpkin, cucumber and other melons.