The official state insect of New York, ninespotted lady beetles were once widespread, helping farmers in the U.S. and Canada control pests in their fields.

But starting in the 1980s, numbers of lady beetles, including “ninespots,” suddenly crashed for reasons that remain unclear. Scientists do have ideas, however. Perhaps invasive lady beetle species were eating their favored aphid prey; or pesticides may have played a role. In any case, in eastern North America no individuals of this species were seen for more than a decade.

Shocked by their disappearance, Cornell University entomologists started asking community scientists to help find any remaining ninespotted lady beetles. After some success, scientists collected and began raising the beetles in a laboratory. As they improved rearing methods, they released thousands of the insects in New York and other parts of the northeastern U.S. They also began selling live beetle larvae for home gardeners to use as pest control. With these efforts, scientists and ladybug lovers alike hope the beetles will take hold in nature again.

Ninespotted lady beetle
Coccinella novemnotata
0.2 to 0.3 inches (5–7 mm)
Special concern (new york state, canada)
Ecological Role
AMNH Specimen Number
AMNH_IZC 00292341 and AMNH_IZC 00292342
New York, U.S. (lab reared)