During the Middle Ages, a variety of pests were devouring precious crops, much to the dismay of farmers and city dwellers alike. In desperation, the people prayed to God, invoking the intercession of Our Blessed Mother Mary. Soon thereafter, little beetles sporting red wings with black spots began appearing in the fields, with a voracious appetite for aphids and other pests. The crops were saved, and the grateful farmers named the bright red bugs "Lady beetles," in deference to the Holy Virgin Mary. The red wings were said to symbolize the Virgin Mary's cloak, while the black spots, of which there are technically seven, represented the seven joys and sorrows of the Mother of God.