Everyone knows what ladybugs look like, they are the adorable little red bug with black spots. Adorable that is, until you find yourself with a ladybug infestation. One ladybug, cute. Hundreds of ladybugs…not so cute. We’re currently seeing a huge infestation on our house in Massachusetts.
Why you might not know is the bugs that you are calling ladybugs aren’t actually ladybugs at all, they are multi-colored Asian Lady Beetles that look like ladybugs. But these Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetles do one thing that our cute ladybugs don’t…they swarm. What causes this and what can be done about swarming ladybugs?
I’ve explained that these bugs that look an awful lot like our beloved ladybug is actually the Multi-colored Asian Lady beetle but there are some differences. Our ladybugs are bright red with black spots. The Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetles range from pale orange to dark orange and come with or without spots. The other notable difference between the ladybug and the Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle is the fact that the latter hibernates for the winter. There in lies the problem.
Lady Beetle Hibernation Leads To Swarms Of Lady Beetles
Since the Asian Lady Beetle hibernates, they try to find themselves an appropriate place for this come Fall. Their usual hibernation spots would include mountain faces and areas with cracked rock. Since rock is usually gray or light in color you will notice that the Lady Beetle will be attracted to lighter color houses and cars.
Around the end of October, Lady Beetles begin to look for places to spend the cold winter. They begin to swarm onto light colored houses and buildings looking for cracks that they can get into to spend the winter months hibernating. They are not dangerous, just annoying. I’m looking out my window right now and there is not one place that I look that I don’t see the Lady Beetles flying around.
More than just swarming on the outside of the house, the Lady Beetles work their way into houses through cracks or rips in screens. Before you know it you could have an entire inside window or wall full of Lady Beetles.
Dealing With A Lady Beetle Infestation
There is no magic solution to this problem. There are however a few things that you can do to try and deal with the swarms of Lady Beetles that are mounting on your home.
- Use Your Water Hose – if you happen to walk outside and notice that once side of your home is covered with the Lady Beetles…turn on your garden hose. Spray them off of your house before they can work their way inside your home.
- Seal Up Cracks and Spaces Around Your Windows And Doors – Although no ones home is airtight, it does help if you try and seal up the larger cracks and spaces around your windows and doors. It is these very cracks and spaces that the Lady Beetle utilizes to work their way into your home.
- Use Your Vacuum Cleaner – I have done this! If those little Lady Beetles do find a breach security and make their way into your home, they will have a tendency to stay in a group. What better way than to wipe out this group than by vacuuming them up. Just make sure you dispose of the bag outside or you pretty much make the whole effort null and void.
- Just Deal With It – the Lady Beetle infestation will happen about once per year…just deal with it. If you have used all of the techniques above and you are still having a problem with the Lady Beetles, what can you do except deal with it?
Some Facts About The Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle
Since the only thing I knew about the ladybug before researching this topic was that if you killed one it would rain the next day…I figured I would list some facts about the infamous Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle.
- Until the 1960′s there were no Lady Beetles in the United States, they were brought in as a way of controlling agricultural pests that eat things such as pecans and apples.
- As a defense against predators the Lady Beetles secrete a foul smelling, yellow fluid from their leg joints. Humans would most likely only smell this fluid when there are swarms of the Lady Beetles secreting it at once.
- Lady Beetles are attracted to illuminated surfaces such as the side of a house which is in the sun. They also are attracted to lighter colored house trim or the gutters of a home.
- They do not reproduce once they find a home for the winter (that’s a relief). The Lady Beetles you may see leaving your home in the Spring are the same little suckers which found their way in, in the Fall.
So there you are, just a few fun facts about our friend the Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle. Like I said they are only around for a few days during the Fall so the most common sense thing would be just to deal with them. Hey, have you ever noticed a Ladybug in your home during the winter…wonder how that got there?