Ladybug vs Asian Beetle: What’s the Difference?

Ladybugs eat garden pests, but they have a non-native lookalike—the Asian lady beetle. See the difference between a ladybug vs an Asian beetle.

How to Identify a Ladybug vs an Asian Beetle

asian lady beetle vs ladybugBill Johnson
The convergent lady beetle seen here eats pesky insects in gardens throughout North America.

Our native ladybugs are welcome guests in gardens, backyards and farm fields because they nosh on plant-eating insects, like aphids, mites and mealybugs. But the ladybug’s nonnative look-alike, the Asian multicolored lady beetle, has a bad reputation. They’re the bothersome creatures that nudge their way into the warmth of your home during winter. Look for distinctive markings to help you tell the difference between a ladybug vs an Asian beetle.

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Ladybug Features

  • Antennae, near the eyes, help poor-sighted ladybugs smell, taste and feel their way around.
  • Hard shells (elytra) cover and protect the wings. Dots on the left are a mirror image of those on the right.
  • Pronotum is a platelike structure that protects the ladybug’s head. It has two white dashes on top.
  • Short legs secrete poisonous gel if the bug is caught by a predator.
  • Black spots on the orange shell alert predators that this creature tastes bad.
  • The convergent lady beetle eats pesky insects in gardens throughout North America.

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Asian Lady Beetle Features

asian lady
Asian lady beetles have an M shaped marking behind their head
  • You can easily tell Asian lady beetles from other native ladybugs by the marks behind the head. Look for a black “M” shape on the pronotum.

Next, meet more helpful garden beetles you should know.

Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines as a time and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds, and attended various festivals, including Sedona Hummingbird Festival, Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival and Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.