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A bug’s guide to backyard bugs


CC0 Public Domain

Come join our quartet of insects, as they give us a tour of the best of the backyard when it comes to buggin’ out!


ladybug on a leaf

Photo by Kentish Plumber licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

We ladybugs have a lot of rumours to clear up. First, we’re not all ladies. We’re beetles! We just love looking fabulous and red’s our colour! Second, you can’t figure out how old we are by counting the spots on our backs, but that’s how you can tell what species of ladybug we are. North America has over 450 native species of ladybug, so we needed some way to tell each other apart! It’s not like we have last names. Finally, we love eating aphids, so if you see any on this list, let us know?


furry aphid

Photo by Ian Boyd licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 

Do you know if any lady bugs are on this list? If so, keep quiet! They think we’re really tasty. However, we aphids are vegetarians or herbivores. We only eat plants, well, not eat as much as we suck the sugar rich sap from the leaves, stems and roots of all kinds of plants. We’re very small at only a few millimeters long and have very soft bodies (we don’t get the chance to work out often as we like). We come in green, red, black, brown, and sometimes we can even get a little furry.

Black swallowtail butterfly

black swallowtail butterfly and thistle

Photo by John Flannery licensed CC BY-SA 2.0 

While black and yellow are usually colours for bees, we black swallowtail butterflies have made them our own! Check out our stunning black wings with yellow spots. We make this look work! We hang out mostly in southern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. We fly low to the ground and love the smell of milkweed, thistle and carrots if you want to plant some and hang out!

Green sweat bee

green sweat bee upside down on a flower

Photo by Gris M licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 

I know what you’re thinking. A green bee? Really? It must be Halloween. It may come as a shock, but it’s just how we were made. Us green sweat bees have a signature metallic green colour that make us one of a kind. Our ladies are green from head to toe, but our gentlemen only have green heads. We buzz around all of southern Canada, and when we’re feeling hungry we gather pollen and nectar from tasty flowers. We give back to the flowers by helping them pollinate each year. It’s a win-win situation, so no one is left feeling green!