Even though it is cold outside, you may see an insect or two flying around your house, especially around lamp bulbs. When they finally land, you notice that they look just like a ladybug. But before you start thinking you have ladybugs in the house, know that what you are probably seeing is the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle looking for a warm spot to escape the cold weather.
These beetles were introduced into the South to feed on aphids on pecan trees. Since their release, they have spread across the entire US. They are very efficient as a predator of aphids and scale insects that damage many plant species. Occasionally, they will feed on fruit, like ripening peaches, apples and grapes.
How Do I Know if I Have Ladybugs in the House or Asian Lady Beetles?
The Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle can be distinguished from other lady beetle species by two white, oval markings located directly behind their head. They are about a ¼ inch long, and their color ranges from yellow to deep orange with 19 black spots, but not always. The adults can live up to three years.
The females lay yellow eggs on clusters on the undersides of leaves that hatch into larvae that look like tiny alligators. These feed on soft-bodied insects like aphids before entering into the pupa stage. Once the adult emerges, it will also start feeding on soft-bodied insects. They can have multiple generations every year.
Why Are They in My House?
Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles are a nuisance since they have a habit of congregating on the south sides of light-colored buildings in the fall in an attempt to stay warm. They search for openings into the structure through any hole, crack or crevice. They also release a pheromone that attracts more beetles to the same spot. The adults have been known to inflict a mildly painful bite, but they do not carry any disease. They do not breed indoors and are just looking for a place to hide for the winter.
How Can I Control Them?
Sealing any openings or cracks that allow entry into the home will help. If they do get in, use a vacuum to suck them up. Avoid killing them as they do emit a foul-smelling odor when crushed and can leave a stain that is difficult to remove.
Applying a perimeter pest control application in the early fall will be helpful next year, but for the remainder of this year, except for the deep South, use your vacuum when you see them. Be sure to empty it out outside after you finish.
Is your home ready for winter? Have you given your lawn and landscape as much thought as your home’s interior? Contact your local Spring-Green to find out about winterizing your sprinkler system, fall fertilization, and more.