Prevent Your Home From Being Invaded by Lady Bugs

Lady Beetles or Lady Bugs are everywhere right now. The multicolored Asian beetles were most common in Japan, Korea and other parts of Asia. USDA Agricultural Research Scientist introduced them to us in the late 70’s to early 80’s as a biological control agent for soft bodied insects. Introduced insects often require seven to ten years to become established. Most lady adults spend the winter months in clusters protected from the weather. In their native homes, this would normally be done in cliffs, but here it is our houses. We see them on light colored walls with a South or Southwest exposure. They enter our homes through cracks. Lady bugs will not eat fabric, plants, paper, or any other household item. They like to eat Aphids. Aphids are very small, but very destructive pest that feeds on plants. While trying to hibernate in your home, they live off of their own body fats. They have been known to make Asthma worse or allergies appear but this should be the only affect on humans.

Female lady beetles may lay from twenty to more than one thousand eggs over a one to three month period. There are four stages of the life cycle of a lady beetle: egg, larval, pupa, and finally adult. Adults may live for a few months to over one year. The more common species typically have one to two generations per year. Many crops benefit from lady beetles. They are helpful for growers of vegetables, grain crops, legumes, strawberries and tree crops. This is probably why lady beetles may be tolerant of some chemical insecticides. Want a new pet? You can keep a ladybug as a pet to observe. Keep it in a bug box or terrarium. Keep the foliage moist, or place a damp paper towel inside so the lady bug can get a drink. You can feed your ladybug moistened raisins or other sweet non-acidic fruits. This will help maintain their fat reserves until you release them in the spring.

Do you want to get rid of them? You probably won’t get rid of all of them but here is some tips to minimize the population: Seal up cracks and crevices. They will find each and every one. Window screens and doors should be tight fitting, especially on the South and West side of your home. This is where your home is usually the warmest. Vacuum and dispose of the beetles well away from your home or they will be back. Vacuum clusters when you see them on the walls. Don’t use insecticides. They will die in walls or cracks. Then other insects, such as carpet beetles, will eat them. Once the ladybugs are gone, carpet beetles will move on in and start eating other things- carpet, clothes, stored food, etc. Then you will have another problem. There is a product called Ladybug Black Light Trap. It uses radiating black light to attract and contain them. We started being invaded yesterday when the sun was shining on the front side of the house. As I write this, there is one on my lamp shade at my desk. I’m going to go get my Vacuum……Good Luck.

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