There are some 5,000 different species of ladybirds in the world, in many different colours and patterns. The name is thought to have been inspired by early images of the Virgin Mary who would appear wearing a red cloak. Ladybirds eat aphids which is why they are such a delight to have in the garden and are a natural alternative to spraying with chemicals. The number of spots on a ladybird indicates what species it belongs to. Not all ladybirds are red with black spots. Ladybirds can be yellow, orange, brown or red with black, white or red spots or stripes.