On New Year’s Eve, the small, cute ladybugs made of plastic or wrapped in chocolate are supposed to bring us luck. But what do real animals actually do in winter? Is it possible to help them through the cold season and hibernate ladybugs? This guide shows interesting facts about hibernation or hibernation.

Avoidable ladybug plague in autumn

Everyone knows the phenomenon of hundreds of ladybugs cavorting on the house wall in autumn. They may have chosen this spot as a suitable winter quarters. However, sometimes the avoidable plague is temporary, lasting no more than a few days. In this case, the spotted beetles are just passing through. For their departure to warmer climes, they gather in a large flock before the final departure. Maybe strong winds are just forcing them to pause to stay on course. Due to the light body weight, strong gusts change the direction of flight of the beetles.

Note: Getting together in autumn is not just for hibernation. If the ladybugs wake up with the rising temperatures next spring, it is important to ensure their continued existence. A suitable partner is quickly found in the large crowd.

How does Coccinellidae overwinter?

During the journey mentioned above, the ladybugs are mostly drawn to Western Europe. Depending on the species, they look for the warm south or northern regions. The latter species need constant temperatures to safely survive the winter. Those species that hibernate in the south cannot adjust their body temperature to the ambient air and therefore have to stay warm all the time.

Other species, on the other hand, fall into a kind of hibernation. Before that, they eat up fat deposits and then gather in large numbers to keep each other warm. The hibernating animals then look like they are dead. However, a rise in temperature would cause the apparently lifeless bodies to become active again.

Note: On the way to warmer regions, the insects orientate themselves on the climatic conditions.

Differences between hibernation and hibernation


When temperatures drop below 12°C, Coccinellidae hibernate. The body’s own temperature drops to just 5°C. In order to save energy, the heartbeat and breathing of the animals slow down.


For Coccinellidae to hibernate, temperatures must drop to freezing point. While the organ functions are only about 3 to 5% of the active state, the beetles adapt their body temperature to the ambient air at 0°C. In this state, the insects can withstand temperatures from -10°C to -15°C.

Preferred winter quarters

  • pile of leaves
  • wall cracks
  • cavities in walls
  • rafters
  • window frames
  • Moosbetten
  • hollow tree trunks
  • tree bark
  • in the tall grass
Note: If ladybugs get into the apartment through open windows, the animals are most likely just lost. Coccinellidae naturally avoids human habitation. However, the heat that emanates from poorly insulated windows attracts the insects.

A natural garden is worth it

The easiest way to help ladybugs, but also other insects, to hibernate is to create a natural garden. The beneficial insects find shelter in cracks in the wood and under piles of leaves. Other animals provide important food for non-hibernating insects. The following spring, the beetles thank the gardener for the willing help by eating plant pests such as aphids . At this point, the Asian harlequin ladybird should be highlighted, which reproduces enormously under good conditions. The bright orange to black beetle with a total of 19 spots on the elytra is one of the most effective garden helpers in the fight against vermin. However, other beneficial insects such as the larvae of its conspecifics or the gall midge are also on its menu.

Help ladybugs hibernate

Indirect help is the best method for overwintering ladybugs. People who, out of pity, actively intervene in the hibernation of insects only make their condition worse. Since the beetles eat up fat deposits in autumn, they do not need any food. Your energy reserves in combination with the falling body temperature are sufficient to keep the circulation alive. The well-intentioned transport to a warm place, on the other hand, means the certain death of the animals. The thermometer risesabove 8°C they wake up from their hibernation. Since the food supply at this time of the year is not sufficient to absorb enough energy, the animals starve to death after a few days. If you find a ladybug in your home, you should release it as soon as possible so that it doesn’t get used to the warmth in the house. In order not to injure the ladybug, the following procedure is recommended:

  • put a sock over the opening of the vacuum cleaner tube
  • push the sock into the tube
  • fix with a rubber band
  • Set the vacuum cleaner to the lowest level
  • sucking ladybugs
  • loosen the rubber band
  • Close the sock opening with your hand
  • Free the sock from the pipe so that it traps the bug(s).
  • Shake out the sock in the garden (ideally on/over a pile of leaves).

emergency food

It is difficult to tell whether a ladybug is weak or healthy. But if you have the feeling that the beetle needs help, you can buy a ladybird rearing set in stores. Sterilized flour moth eggs serve as a feed substitute in the cold season. Alternatively, you can also prepare an emergency ration yourself:

  • Dissolve sugar in water
  • Finely mash the meat
  • Mix the sugar water with the shredded meat
  • offer in very small quantities

Build winter quarters yourself

If you don’t have a garden in which wood and grass provide Coccinellidae shelter for hibernation, you can build your own ladybug hotel for the balcony in just a few simple steps:

Required material:

  • Wooden cabinet of 10 x 10 cm with lid
  • small drill
  • some roofing paper
  • wooden stick
  • Filling material such as wood wool or leaves


  • drill a 0.8 cm loophole in the box
  • cover the lid with roofing felt
  • Attach the box to the wooden stick
  • Put ladybug houses in a flower pot

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