Why are ladybugs red with black spots

Black beetle with red dots: who is it?

Anyone who sees beetles in the garden, on plants or in the house should know what species they are in order to be able to intervene in pests. If there are black beetles that have red spots, the following species are possible.


Pests and beneficial insects

The presence of bugs does not please everyone. However, control should be carefully considered, because when it comes to useful insects, they represent an important ecological value and killing should be avoided in any case. If the beetles can be recognized as beneficial insects, they can easily be removed or driven away alive in (undesired) places. Elsewhere, they are abandoned so that they can continue to do their important tasks for nature.

Identify beetles

If the sighted beetle is black and has red spots on its body, it is hidden behind it usually no pests. However, it is advisable to take a closer look, because every year beetle species are accidentally brought back to Europe through trips abroad, which reproduce and can be pests and require control. It is therefore important to identify the black, red-spotted beetle species in order to be able to definitely identify them as beneficial insects.

Recognize beetles

Like any other color, black has different nuances. Red spots can appear large, small, numerous or isolated and appear smoothly rounded or “frayed”. Sometimes they are on the head, other types of beetles, for example, only have them on the rear. The body size, any feelers, whether or not to fly, and where it is located are essential features that can be used to determine the individual beetle species, as listed below:

Garden gloss beetle

  • scientific name: Glischrochilus hortensis
  • Size: between four and seven millimeters
  • Body: elongated, slender, trunk clearly separated from the head by a broad pronotum
  • Color: glossy black
  • Drawings: two yellow-red to orange-red dots on each wing - sloping at the front, transversely rounded at the back
  • airworthy
  • long, clearly visible antennae
  • Preferred places to stay: on flowing tree sap, fermenting fruit in silages, in tunnels for bark beetles, on mushrooms
  • Beneficial organism, because it is important for the soil and as a natural predator of plant lice
Tip: If there is a particularly noticeable sheen on black beetles with red spots, it is always the garden beetle. It then no longer needs to be examined for further identifying features, so that a determination can be made at first glance.

Banded warthog / fire beetle

  • scientific name: Anthocomus fasciatus
  • Size: between three to 3.5 millimeters
  • Body: downy, flatly arched, slender, oval, narrow pronotum
  • Color: body deep black, head and pronotum green-black, matt black wing cover
  • Drawings: in the middle and at the end of the wing covers, two reddish-orange dot colorations each - running oval to the outer edges
  • airworthy
  • eleven-part antennae - as long as the head and pronotum combined
  • preferred locations: near flowering plants (pollen), where mites and small insects can be found
  • Beneficial organism as a natural predator of numerous pests

Little shy beetle

  • scientific name: Panagaeus bipustulatus
  • Size: between 6.5 and 7.5 millimeters
  • Body: bristly hairy, conspicuously flat arched, oblong-oval
  • Color: overall black color
  • Drawings: on each wing cover two orange to red round spots separated by a seam, additional fine, same-colored dot structure on red areas and head
  • Ground beetle
  • last antenna element brown-red
  • Antennae relatively long
  • preferred places to stay: dry, warm places, gardens - in mountains tolerance of more humid regions, overwinters on the soil of trees and behind / under loose tree bark
  • Beneficial organism as a natural predator of numerous pests


The most common black beetles with red spots are ladybugs. There is the two-point ladybug, of which a black “version” actually exists, but there is also the Asian harlequin ladybug. This actually has a red body with black dots. However, these can be so pronounced that it looks like a black body with red dots.

Asian ladybug

  • scientific name: Harmonia axyridis
  • also called multi-colored or harlequin ladybirds
  • Size: six to eight millimeters
  • Body: oval, but more rounded than oblong
  • Color: orange to dark red basic color with up to 19 black dots - is often perceived as a black basic color with red dots
  • additional drawing: M-shape on the head plate
  • Airworthy and active during the day
  • preferred places to stay: gardens, forests, in winter preferably on sheltered, sunny walls and parts of facades
  • absolute beneficial organism, ideal for combating lice - should not be killed under any circumstances
  • Special features / differences: eats five times as many plant lice as normal ladybirds, shows up in early winter with the first rays of sun outdoors, October / November in swarms looking for winter quarters, releases bitter and foul-smelling liquid when danger is imminent, also eats larvae of seven- or two-point ladybirds, fruits and grapes

Two-point ladybug

  • scientific name: Adalia bipunctata
  • Size: between 3.5 to 5.5 millimeters
  • Body: oval, but more rounded than oblong
  • Color: Overall black color including legs and antennae
  • Drawings: two to three reddish dots per wing cover
  • Airworthy and active during the day
  • preferred places to stay: gardens, forests, hedge bushes, living areas in winter, like to spend the winter cool under moss and tree bark
  • absolute beneficial organism, ideal for combating lice - should not be killed under any circumstances
  • Special features / differences to red specimens: are more sensitive to cold, multiply significantly more, have higher food requirements, therefore starve to death faster than red-colored specimens - warmth kills them in winter
Tip: Anyone who comes across black beetles with red spots in the early morning twilight is very likely to come across the harlequin ladybird. Here, a close look at the coloring is enough to make sure that it is. The other beetle species can only be seen when the daytime temperature rises after sunrise.

frequently asked Questions

Are black bugs with red spots poisonous to humans?

No, in Central Europe there has not yet been any type of beetle with a black base color and red dots that could be poisonous to humans.

Are the types of beetles mentioned here also useful in the house?

That depends on whether there are small pest insects in the house that they will eat and you can get rid of them with the help of the beetle. Basically, however, it can be assumed that every black-colored, red-spotted beetle species is equally useful indoors and outdoors. In the field, the usefulness of the bright garden beetles is important, but also for the earth, so that at least this one is always better off outside.

Can black beetles with red spots harm plants?

Possibly. If they come into contact with fungal pathogens on their way, they can act as vectors and infect other plants. The garden beetle in particular poses a higher risk than the other beetle species because it pulls sap and can therefore come into contact with fungal pathogens.