Is It Ladybugs or Lady Beetles?
It is the Asian Lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), you are seeing inside your home or business. The Asian lady beetle is generally larger than ladybugs, about 1/4 inch long. The most distinguishing characteristic is the black M behind the head. It can be broken, thick, or thin in appearance.
Where Did They Come From?
They are originally from Asia. From the 1960s to the 1990s, the USDA tried to establish Asian lady beetles to control agricultural pests. These beetles were released in Georgia, South Carolina, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Washington, California, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Some believe the current infestations are an accidental release from a freighter from Japan into New Orleans.
Why Are They In My House?
In the fall, beetles leave their summer habitat and look for protected areas to overwinter. In October and November, swarms of lady beetles begin migrating toward structures. Their flights are heaviest on days of warmer weather following a period of cool temperature. Most migrations occur in the afternoon and may vary from day to day. Studies have shown they are attracted to illuminated structures and tend to congregate on the warmer side of buildings. Once the beetles have landed on the structure they will seek out protected areas to overwinter to include cracks around door frames, window frames, attics, soffits, siding, and wall voids.
Do They Cause Harm?
Asian lady beetles are mainly a nuisance pest. They do not reproduce indoors and do not damage items such as wood, food, or clothing. The beetles do emit an odor and can stain surfaces with a yellowish secretion when disturbed. Studies do suggest that lady beetle infestations can cause allergies in some individuals. If you handle the beetle wash your hands afterward prior to rubbing your eyes.
How Can I Get The Lady Beetles Out Of My House?
The most effective way to remove the lady beetles after they have entered a structure is to use a shop vac. I would not recommend using your household vacuum do to the allergy possibility listed above and also the odor and staining they emit when disturbed. Chemicals are not the solution once inside the structure. The shop vacuum can be taken outside once the vacuuming is completed and emptied. Luckily this issue will only last for a few frustrating weeks during the spring.
What Can I Do To Prevent The Issue Next Year?
Once all beetles have exited the structure, normally late spring. Begin identifying and sealing cracks and crevices around the exterior perimeter of the structure. This can include many areas including windows, doors, and other possible entry points. Remember to have a heavy focus on sealing these areas on the sunny side of the structure. Remember to always use proper ladder safety when sealing around the perimeter of your home or hire a professional.
Once the sealing is completed you will normally find additional areas of entry that cannot be sealed. Your work has not been in vain, reduction of entry points is vital in preventing the Asian lady beetle from entering the structure again in the fall. Professional pest companies can be hired in the fall, normally in late September or early October, to apply barrier treatments to help prevent the invasion from entering areas that were unable to be sealed.
If you have any additional questions, Epituer Pest Solutions, LLC can be reached at 865-363-1155 or click here.
Epituer Pest Solutions, LLC services Knoxville, Tennessee and surrounding areas of East Tennessee.