You would think now that summer’s over that ladybugs would have gone into hiding since they aren’t your typical fall bug, but we are still seeing a couple out here and there when our technicians are out on their routes. Most of the time ladybugs are harmless, so unless you’re seeing a big infestation we wouldn’t worry too much about them. However, there are ladybug impersonators – like Asian lady beetles – that you should keep an eye out for!
Back in the 1960’s, Asian lady beetles (Harmonia axyridis) were brought to the United States from Asia to help with pest control efforts to control agricultural pests. Large numbers of these beetles were released in several southern states, and since then they have spread north.
These beetles look exactly like ladybugs, ranging from tan to orange to red, with black spots on their wing covers and a dark ‘M’ shape around the neck area. But these little guys can be dangerous! Mostly they are just a nuisance, but Asian lady beetles like to bite things that they land on, including humans. They can also cause a lot of property damage, so it’s important to keep an eye out for them and dissuade them from hanging around your property for too long.
Now that fall is here, Asian lady beetles will leave their summer feeding sites and start looking for protected places to spend the winter. This is how they end up infesting homes and other buildings around this time. The infestations are particularly bad on sunny days when the weather warms up after a period of cooler temperatures. They also look for buildings with illuminated surfaces, often congregating on the sunnier sides of buildings, and buildings surrounded by or near wooded areas. And Asian lady beetles love contrasting surfaces – if there are dark shutters on a light background or vice versa, they’ll be drawn to that area.
Once the beetles find the buildings, they look for cracks around windows or between siding to find the perfect protected place to stay for the winter. This is where you can save yourself from a bad Asian lady beetle infestation. Sealing cracks or openings around your home in the late spring and summer will keep them from finding a way into your walls or attic. Be sure to check around your windows, doors, pipes, and wires to locate any cracks.
And if you see them, the simplest solution to getting rid of them is to vacuum! If you want to release them back into the wild, place temporary cover (a handkerchief, rag, etc) between the vacuum hose and the collection bag to trap them. Try to not squish or disturb them too much – Asian lady beetles can stain surfaces with a yellowish acidic odor that is near impossible to remove. If you do handle a beetle or come into contact with the odor, you should avoid touching your eyes and consult a physician if you suspect that you might be having an allergic reaction.
If these methods aren’t working, then be sure to call us at 317-288-3315 to schedule a general spray. Keep in mind that this must be done before winter time, since that’s when Asian lady beetles can start infesting your home.