I have to admit that the first time I saw this critter I killed it. It looked like something that would enjoy dining on my plants. I now have guilt pangs about that murder. Since then I learned this is a ladybeetle larva. They are voracious feeders of aphids and will eat mites and other insect eggs when the aphids are hard to find. The larva can eat up to its weight in aphids per day. It's such a desirable bug in the garden that I have been known to search my neighbors' plants for the larva and steal them to put on my own! Now how despicable is that?
This is one of my most favorite plants in my garden. Her name is Annabelle. This hydrangea has flourished even though we have gone through a record breaking number of days over 90 degrees with no rain. She isn't a complainer though and just makes me happy. I get to enjoy her through the winter too, because once the white blossom heads turn chartreuse, I cut them and put them in vases in the house and they dry perfectly. There aren't many plants that don't require a lot of work but yet give so much back in enjoyment. She's a keeper! Mom