Everyone knows about the ladybug, except for the fact that it isn't actually a bug! Ladybugs are really a beetle and are officially known as ladybird beetles. There's literally hundreds of different types of beetles that many people would call ladybugs, and that's ok, because when the Ohio State Legislature was busy designating this insect as the official insect, they didn't do much research into the whole classification system. So in 1975 the familiar orangish-red beetle was adopted as the official state bug, even though it's a beetle.
Ruth Michaelis, a Toledo area elementary school teacher began the effort that would eventually demand that a state insect be included in our list of state symbols. It all began after reading an article in the My Weekly Reader (which was published in Columbus) about how the state of Maryland had adopted a butterfly as their state insect. That was in 1973 when the topic became an open point of discussion in her classroom.
The class of both second and third graders pondered the idea of a state insect and came up with the Ladybug for several reasons. First, it's color matched the red bird, the red carnation-- two other state symbols. Plus, the ladybug they had learned was good for gardens since the little red beetle eats harmful insects. Petitions were signed, letters were written, research was done and in 1975 the ladybug became Ohio's official state insect.
Ruth Michaelis is the person responsible for Ohio adopting the "ladybug" as our official state insect. During her tenure as a second grade elementary school teacher at Lincolnshire Elementary School in Toledo. Ruth was born in Oklahoma and grew up through the Great Depression. During World War II she met Clifford Michaelis, a native son of Wood County in northwestern Ohio. Clifford was stationed in Oklahoma for flight training in Oklahoma City. They were married in 1943 and after the war, Clifford and Ruth moved to Ohio and they both became school teachers and spent the rest of their lives here.
A foreign poser
As the end of the 20th Century approached a new bug that looked to most untrained eyes to be a ladybug started showing up in the fall and really began to give some serious thoughts about taking away the status of state insect from the lowly ladybug. But, as it turns out, this crush of orange beetles that look just like our cherished ladybug are imposters that came from Asia. Those orange masses are actually multicolored Asian lady beetles, not to be confused with the orangish-red ladybugs. Today, those Asian beetles aren't the same problem they once were, and just about everyone knows the difference.