Ladybug Meanings and Symbolism + The Ladybug Spirit Animal

Ladybug Meanings and Symbolism
Ladybug meanings and symbolism include talent, protection, healing, evolution, good fortune, and grace. Also going by the name of ladybird or lady beetle, there are 6,000 species of ladybugs and they are dear to people around the world. Hence, the ladybug appears in the folklore and mythologies of many cultures. In addition, those who are especially fond of these insects consider the ladybug spirit animal their own. And many more people are curious about ladybug spiritual meanings.

In this post, you’ll learn about ladybug meanings, symbols, mythology, folklore, the ladybug spirit animal, and more.

Two ladybugs on a leaf

What do ladybugs mean?

  • Talent
  • Protection
  • Healing
  • Evolution
  • Good Fortune
  • Grace

Detailed Ladybug Symbols and Meanings

Yellow Ladybug
Fourteen-spotted Lady Beetle (Propylea quatuordecimpunctata). Photo: Lars Willighagen.

What does it mean if you see a ladybug or if one lands on you? If a ladybug makes their presence known to you, whether it’s in real life, through the media, art, or in some other way, pay attention. There are no coincidences. Ladybugs are considered to be positive omens and signs of good luck around the world. Here are some details on ladybug meanings and why they might mean in your life:

Ladybug Symbolism: Talent

Loved by gardeners, farmers, children, and others, the ladybug is one talented insect. To begin, like the bat, they are extremely efficient at consuming insects, many of whom are considered pests. For example, a mature ladybug can eat around 23 plant-killing aphids per day. And their late-stage larvae (“baby” ladybugs before the pupal stage, which is the last stage before becoming a full-fledged ladybug) can consume about 230 aphids per day. Because they are so good at eating troublesome insects, ladybugs are an ideal form of natural pest control.

In addition to being beneficial insects, ladybugs have another talent: They can act. The ladybug is known to play dead to trick certain predators who favor eating live insects.

Finally, with their unmistakable crimson shells and artful spots, the ladybug is a real showstopper in the garden. Yet ladybugs don’t just come with red with black spots. The 6,000-species of ladybugs come in a variety of colors and patterns, including yellow, orange, and brown as well as striped, solid, and other patterns.

Because of their special gifts, the ladybug is a symbol for talent. When the ladybug is one of your spirit animals, you are reminded to use your unique gifts and aptitudes.

Every one of us comes into this world with natural abilities. In addition, we all gain skills and experience from the things we go through in life. This combination of your natural gifts and your experiences is your secret sauce. As the saying goes,
“Your net worth equals what you do with what you have.”

The tiny ladybug reminds us that even with limited resources and simple actions, one person can make a big difference in the world.

Protection

The ladybug’s beautiful shell protects their wings so they can fly when needed. In addition, like the colorful poison dart frog, the ladybug’s vibrant color warns predators that they might be toxic if eaten. Furthermore, when the ladybug plays dead, they can secret a small amount of blood through their legs, which creates an odor that is a turn-off to would-be predators.

Although they are tiny, the ladybug is good at protecting themselves. This is why they are symbols of protection. They remind us be protective of those and that which we love as well as ourselves.

Protection can extend to caring for those are vulnerable in our lives, such as children, teens, older people, pets, or our significant others. It can also mean protecting ourselves.

Thus, if a ladybug makes themselves known to you, it can also be a sign to be more vigilant in caring for your loved ones and yourself. This can be in the areas of health, personal boundaries, self-esteem, or even creative ideas.

While the ladybug may seem like a tiny lifeform, packed in their little dome bodies is universal wisdom and protective power.

Ladybug Symbolism: Healing

Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis)
Orange Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis). Photo: Kaldari.

Because they play such an important role in protecting plants, and therefore our food supply, ladybugs are also symbols of healing. In fact, in ancient folklore, ladybugs were believed to carry illnesses away.

When the weather gets cold, ladybugs go into hibernation, finding safe places in logs, holes, under leaves, and elsewhere. The ladybug understands the power of rest in order to regenerate.

With their capacity for keeping plants healthy, including supporting food crops, the ladybug reminds of our own body’s miraculous natural power to heal and regenerate.

In this way, the ladybug shares synergies with the hummingbird, who helps to keep plants alive via pollination, and thus is also a good luck symbol for healing and well-being.

Furthermore, ladybugs who come in shades of orange are extra special symbols of healing, as the color orange is associated with the second, or sacral, chakra, which plays an important role in health and vitality. Thus, like the monarch butterfly, orange dragonfly, or even tiger lily flower, orange ladybugs are powerful symbols of healing.

Evolution

Ladybug Larvae
Ladybug larvae resemble tiny alligators. Photo: Sophie Cat.

Ladybugs undergo a miraculous transformation in their lifetimes. After they hatch from eggs, they enter a larval stage, during which they molt four times as they outgrow their skin. Thus, like the snake, the ladybug symbolizes regeneration as they shed the old to make way for the new.

During their larval stage, the ladybug takes on a form that resembles a tiny alligator. Perhaps it’s just a case of coincidence or the miraculous way that patterns repeat in nature, but alligators are also symbols of transformation and regeneration.

As the ladybug goes through stages to become the full manifestation of themselves, they remind you of your own power to evolve in your lifetime. Embracing change as an opportunity for your spirit to evolve and for you to grow personally in this lifetime is very much in spirit with the ladybug.

Ladybug Meaning: Good Fortune

Around the world, ladybugs are symbols of good luck and prosperity. To begin, when farmers see a lot of ladybugs in the spring, they view it a sign there will be a bountiful harvest.

In addition, two colors that lady beetles come in, red and gold, are symbols of wealth and prosperity,

Ladybugs are also associated with an auspicious number – the number 7. Sometimes called “C-7” the ladybug species Coccinella septempunctata is known for their bright red shell and seven black spots. The number 7 is a special number to many people because it appears in important ways in nature and human culture, from the seven colors in the rainbow to notes in the chromatic musical scale. You can read more about the number 7 in my post about the Seed of Life.

If a ladybug makes themselves known to you, view it as a reminder that the world is full of limitless opportunities that are waiting for you to meet them.

Grace

According to legend, ladybugs, or lady beetles, got their name from European farmers when they were facing an onslaught of pests who destroying their crops. The farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary to protect their plants, and soon ladybugs arrived on the scene to devour the pests, saving the farmers’ harvest. Thus, the farmers began calling the special beetles the “Beetle of Our Lady.” Eventually, the name evolved to lady beetles, ladybirds, and ladybugs.

Because of their association with Mary, or the goddess, and healing, ladybugs are also symbols of grace. Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs are, the meaning of grace transcends. As a symbol of grace, the ladybug reminds us to vibrate at our highest levels. We do this through elegance, forgiveness, and kindness.

Ladybug Spiritual Meaning

Ladybug Spiritual Meaning
Large leaf-eating ladybird on a potato leaf (Papuaepilachna guttatopustulata). Photo: Mark Marathon.

In addition to their many positive symbols, the ladybug also have some spiritual meanings. Here are some of them:

Dead Ladybug Meaning

What does it mean if you see a dead ladybug meaning? Is it a bad omen? From an environmental standpoint, seeing dead ladybugs can be an indicator of toxins in the environment. For example, certain chemical poisons that people use to kill aphids in their gardens can also kill ladybugs or at least their eggs and larvae. So, opting for non-toxic, natural pest control – even more ladybugs themselves – can be the better option.

However, if you see a dead ladybug every now and then, it could be that they simply died of natural causes, as ladybugs only live for about two to three years. However, ladybugs are also known for playing dead to evade predators, so you might, in fact, be looking at a ladybug who is not actually dead.

From a spiritual standpoint, what is important when you find a dead ladybug or other insect or animal is that you honor them. This can be as simple as a prayer as well as respectfully burying their body if you know they are, indeed, dead.

The reason is that many psychics and mediums say that when people or animals die, their spirits take an interest in what happens to their Earthly bodies. This is why so many cultures around the world have spiritual traditions about honoring the bodies of those who have passed, whether through burial, cremation, or another tradition.

If you find a dead ladybug, don’t view it as a bad omen. Instead, you can view it as that you have been chosen to honor their life and their spirit through prayer, meditation, or another way.

Ladybug Meaning in Judaism

In Judaism, ladybugs are sometimes called “Moses’ little calf” or even “Moses’ cow.” The reason is because they are so helpful to human beings.

Ladybug Meaning in Christianity and the Bible

Virgin Mary Painting
The Virgin Mary in a red cloak. “The Virgin Mary, the Holy Trinity, the Church Fathers, and symbols of Mary” by Benvenuto Tisi da Garofalo. Ca. 1525-1530. Source:
Pinacoteca di Brera Collection.

As mentioned earlier, in Christianity, the ladybug is associated with and even named for the Virgin Mary. While ladybugs are not mentioned specifically in the Bible, many biblical paintings portrayed Mary and Jesus in the color red (as well as blue.) The color red came to symbolize the blood of Christ and sacrifice. Thus, red ladybugs took on additional symbolic meaning in Christianity.

In addition to the English, other cultures gave ladybug’s religious and symbolic names:

  • French: la bête á bon dieu – “the dear Lord’s bug”, la vache de la Vierge – “the cow of the Virgin”
  • Dutch: Lieveheerbeestje – “the dear Lord’s little animal”
  • German: Marienkaefer – “Mary’s beetle”, Himmelskindchen – “heaven’s little child”, Sonnenkindchen – “the sun’s little child”, Herrgottspferdchen – “the Lord God’s little horse”
  • Russian: bozha kapovka – “God’s little cow”
  • Danish: Mariehone – “Mary’s hen”
  • Spanish: mariquita – “little Mary”
  • Turkish: Ugurbocegi – “good luck beetle”

Ladybug Mythology and Folklore

Ladybug on White Flower

Ladybugs, or lady beetles, have inhabited the Earth for roughly 148 million years. So, they are far more ancient than we are. The first humans date back to just 2.8 million years. So, for as long as humans have lived on Earth, there have been lady beetles. And possibly because they are so visible and perhaps because of their help in human agriculture, ladybugs are the subjects of folklore in many cultures. Here are some of those stories:

Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Ladybug Folklore

The Celts and Anglos-Saxons had a lot of lore surrounding ladybugs. For instance, in Scottish folklore, if a young woman caught a ladybird (or ladybug) in her hand and then released the direction in which the ladybug flew would determine from where the young lady’s suitor would come. As they released the insect, they would sing a song:

“Fly away east or fly away west, and show me where lives the one I like best.”

Another popular children’s rhyme from England had a more sober meaning:

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children will burn,
All except one, and her name is Ann,
And she hid under the baking pan.

The rhyme has possibly two meanings. Some say it referred to 16th century British laws that penalized people for being Catholic, the rhyme serving as a warning.

However, another meaning dates back earlier to Medieval England. After farmers harvested their hops, they would burn the vines to clear the fields to prepare for the next planting period. Thus, the song warns the ladybugs to leave the crops before they are set on fire. However, the ladybugs “children” – the larvae and pupae cannot fly away and are still stuck to the vines.

Other Anglo-Celtic folklore suggested the number of spots a ladybird had would determine how much money you might make or how soon you would meet the person who was to become your husband or wife.

Norse Ladybug Mythology and Folklore

In Viking legends, ladybugs came to Earth as a gift from the god Thor. Befitting his style, Thor delivered the ladybugs on a bolt of lightning.

In Swedish folklore, if a ladybug lands on a teen or young woman’s hand, it was a sign she was destined to get married.

And as mentioned earlier, the Swedes called the ladybug Maria Nyckelpiga, which translates to “Mary’s Key Maiden.” According to their legend, if you capture a ladybug and let them go free, you could enter the gates of Heaven. The Swedes also associated ladybugs with the Virgin Mary. In addition, they associated the ladybug’s seven spots with the seven virtues: chastity, faith, good works, concord (or harmony), sobriety, patience, and humility.

Ladybug Meaning in France

In France, ladybug’s symbolized healing. In fact, according to French folklore, if you were ill and a ladybug landed on you and then flew away, they would carry your illness away with them. Furthermore, if you made a wish, whichever direction the ladybug flew would be where your good luck would come from.

The French also believed that ladybugs brough ideal weather for growing grapes for wine.

Staying the Execution

In fact, the French so revered ladybugs that they viewed them as messengers from Mary or God. According to one story, there was a man who was condemned to death by King Robert II (972-1031). However, just as the man’s neck was placed on the executioner’s block, a ladybug landed on his neck. At first, the executioner shooed the insect away, however, the ladybug persisted and kept landing on the man’s neck.

Seeing this as a sign from the Virgin Mary, the kind stayed the execution and ordered further investigation into the matter. And according to the story, several days later the authorities found the real criminal who confessed to the crime, so the first prisoner was granted his freedom.

European Ladybug Folklore

Elsewhere in Europe, the Swiss would tell their young children that they came to them on the backs of ladybugs instead of storks. And both the Germans and Austrians said that ladybugs are signs of good weather and having a bountiful harvest. Furthermore, the Belgians said that if a ladybug lands on you, the number of spots on their back will foretell how many children you will have.

Native American Ladybug Meanings

The Native Americans did not have any ladybug myths. However, they did tell stories about beetles, the order of insects that includes ladybugs. While some insects, such as flies, were associated with sorcery, beetles were associated with fertility by some tribes. For example, the Hopi said that black beetles pioneered the first rain dance. And South American tribes say the dung beetle created life on Earth.

Ladybug Meaning in Japan

In Japan, ladybugs are also symbols of good luck. The Japanese call the ladybug “red girl” and also associate the ladybug with celestial bodies and the heavens, or “Heaven’s Path.”

Ladybug Symbolism in China

The Chinese also associate the ladybug with higher spiritual powers and good luck. In China, the color red is a lucky color and the color of wealth. So, they view it as a good omen if a ladybug enters the home. In addition, in Feng Shui, placing ladybug statues and other ladybug art in the wealth corner of a room is said to bring good fortune.

Ladybug Meaning in Hinduism

The Hindus also associate the ladybug as a gift from God. They call ladybug’s “Indra’s shepherd.”

Buddhism

There aren’t any well-known Buddhist stories about ladybugs. However, Buddhist view them as sentient beings who deserve to live their lives and fulfill their lady beetle natures.

Ladybug Spirit Animal

Ladybug and Mushrooms

Although they are insects, ladybugs are still viewed as powerful spirit “animals” to many.

When the ladybug is your spirit guide, you haven been blessed with a special ability to evolve in your lifetime and become the best version of yourself. You are also a person who is considered gifted – whether creatively, intellectually, or in some other capacity. If you don’t feel that you are, the ladybug spirit animal is a reminder to remember the activities your loved as a child and to explore things you enjoy today. Therein you will find your gifts and discover ways to use them today.

In addition, ladybug people are healers in some way. You have the capacity to see a situation and know what needs to be done to revitalize it and make it better.

If you are curious about other spirit animals who might also be your guides, you can take UniGuide’s Spirit Animal Quiz in my overview post about spirit animals.

Ladybug Power Animal

As the name implies, power animals can empower you with their most dynamic traits. So, if you want to transform an area of your life, mediate on the ladybug power animal. For example, you can summon the ladybug power animal in situations where you:

  • Feel you need more protection, whether it be physical, emotional, psychic, or spiritual.
  • Are facing a health challenge that you want to change into a health opportunity to become stronger and filled with more vitality
  • Want to better use your natural gifts to earn income and improve your life and the lives of others
  • Need some good luck and more prosperity in your life.

Ladybug Totem

Animal totems embody the protective powers of the animal they represent. Thus, the ladybug totem animal serves as a helpful symbol to invite healing, well-being, and good fortune into your life. It is also a protective totem, whether in the form of jewelry, décor in your home, or some other talisman. The ladybug totem is also a helpful symbol for remembering to have grace and to never lower your vibration to those why may want to bring you down.

Ladybug Dream Meaning

If you dream or a ladybug or ladybugs and wonder what your dream means, consider first the emotions that you felt in your dream. While dream meanings and interpretations are personal to every individual, one thing we all have in common is that our sub-conscious emotions don’t lie to us.

Once you understand the emotions you felt in your dream, you can apply some of the ladybug symbols and meanings you learned here to your dream to gain better insights.

For example, an anxious dream about a ladybug or ladybugs can reflect that you feel overwhelmed in an area of your life and that you fear you are not up to the task. If you consider ladybug symbolism, they are very methodical in their process, handling things in a step-by-step process. Sometimes simply compartmentalizing or breaking things down into bite-sized pieces is the best way to handle big tasks.

By the same token, if you have a pleasant dream about a ladybug or ladybugs, it can mean that you are ready to invite more positive energy into your life, whether it’s to your health, finances, or relationships.

Ladybug Tattoo

Ladybug Tattoo

In many ways, a ladybug tattoo is a perfect tattoo. It is a design that can be simple and complex, while conveying straightforward or multifarious meanings. A ladybug tattoo can convey that you simply love ladybugs. Or that you are a spiritual person who revers the Virgin Mary. It can also show the world that you are a person who has overcome a health challenge and/or who is continually evolving. Of course, it can also symbolize that you love to grow things!

Organizations that Protect Ladybugs

Over the past three decades, ladybug, or lady beetle, populations have declined in North America, Europe, and elsewhere. In part, this is due to invasive, non-native lady beetles. They eat the natives’ food. In addition, they pass pathogens to them, which the natives are not immune to.

Native ladybugs do not yet have conservation statuses listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, their decline in numbers will call for more research and organized conservation efforts. There are some organizations that are already working to study and protect ladybugs. If you care about these important insects, you can play a role in helping to protect them. Here are some organizations and resources where you can find more information:

 

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