Outdoor Insects Will Soon Begin Moving Indoors…

almost winter insects moving in

Although much of the country enjoyed summer like weather well into October, it is going to get cold and it is going to happen sooner than we may think… Where I live in northern Illinois, we had some light frost one week and then temperatures in the 80’s 4 days later. I guess you can blame it on global warming, but enjoying summer time temperatures in the middle of October is a blessing.

As the temperatures drop, insects that have been living outside are going to creep into our homes.

These insects do this by squeezing through some of the tiniest cracks and openings around windows, doors, dryer vents and exhaust fans.

They will be coming in to escape the cold weather at night and may creep back outside during the day. In many cases, you will not even know that they are inside, except for ones that can congregate in large numbers, like multi-colored Asian lady beetles.

asian lady beetle

Asian Lady Beetle: everything you need to know!

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.

The Multi-Colored Asian Lady Beetle is identified from other lady beetle species by two white, oval markings located behind their head. As their name implies, they can range in color from yellow to deep orange. In most cases, they have about 19 black spots on their wing covers, but that number can vary. The adults can live up to three years.

During the summer, the female lays yellow eggs on the undersides of leaves that hatch into larvae that look like tiny alligators. These larvae feed on soft-bodies insects like aphids. After pupating, the adults will continue feeding on aphids. They can have multiple generations every year.

asian lady beetle larva insects

The adults search for openings into homes through any hole, crack or crevice. When they find a suitable opening, they release a pheromone that is a signal to other multi-colored Asian lady beetles to follow them into the house or other structure.

The adults have been known to inflict a painful bite, but they are not like a mosquito and do not inject any substance into a person’s body. Basically what they are doing is taking a sample bite to see if the person is a suitable meal. Fortunately, they do not breed indoors and are only coming indoors looking for a place to hide for the winter.

Before it gets too cold, seal any openings around doors and windows or any other crevice around the house. It is also a good idea to apply a perimeter insect control barrier around the outside of your house to control these home invaders as they move back and forth into a house or other structure.

Contact your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green for more information on our Perimeter Pest Control Program to reduce the movement of nuisance insects in to your home.

Have You Been Seeing Multi-colored Beetles?

Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetles

I am sure that many people have noticed Lady Bugs or Lady Beetles flying around the house during the winter, especially soon after a frost occurs. You are not alone as they have been active all summer throughout the US. If you have seen these beetles in your home during winter then you are most likely seeing Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetles. As the cold seasons approaches take the time to protect your home.

The best way to control the beetles’ entry into a home is through prevention. 

Asian Lady Beetle Appearance

  • Beetles range in color from yellow to red and vary in the number of spots that occur on the wings.
  • Their color indicates their eating habits.
    • If the beetles are red, then they ate mostly aphids during the season. If they are orange and yellow, they fed on more pollen during the season.
  • The number of spots they have relates directly to air temperature during development.

This non-native beetle was originally introduced to control aphid populations, which is their favorite food source.

Aphids are tiny sucking insects that can cause aesthetic damage to many plants and can also be responsible for the introduction of plant diseases. With increases in populations over the years, this beetle has turned into a real nuisance by invading homes in the fall.

Some people state that the Lady Beetles will bite, but it is only mildly irritating. When they land on a person, they are going to “sample” the possible meal and will grab ahold of you with their mandibles or jaws. A person does not taste as good as an aphid, so they will quickly fly away and search for a more suitable food source.

Beetles tend to be attracted to older homes and those with light-colored siding and can enter through an opening as small as a 1/8 of an inch.

3 Preventative Tips

  1. Seal openings where pipes enter your home, such as gas meters, faucets, and dryer vents.
  2. Caulk around doors, windows and chimneys and seal any cracks.
  3. Apply a perimeter insect control around the base of your home including under decks and along thresholds.

Lady beetles can fly, so they may still get into the house, but the fewer openings there are, the less the chance for them to enter your home. As far as the ones that do get indoors, a vacuum cleaner is the best control method as indoor insect control products are not very effective.

Spring-Green offers a Perimeter Pest Control program, in most states. Contact your local lawn care professional to inquire about keeping the outside pests outside.

Where Do Insects Go in Winter? Winter and its Effect on Insect Populations

Winter Trees

I’ve been asked many times what impact a really cold or mild winter has on insect populations. It is a good question and one that begs a better answer than the actual truth… a really cold or mild winter does not make much of a difference for the survival of insect populations.

Insects have been around for millions of years and have endured all sorts of weather patterns. Because of this they have adapted to survive and persist despite the winter weather.

But Where Do Insects Go in the Winter?

Many insects simply enter a dormant stage called diapause. It can occur in winter, or summer, and is a fairly common occurrence. Many insects have the ability to dehydrate themselves during the winter. Even the insects that may sneak into your house in the fall to escape the winter often dehydrate themselves.

Fly

If you’re wondering where insects go in the winter, check your windows. They hide on window sills and window edges as they wait for the return of warmer temperatures.

As a result, you may see a fly or Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle flying around your house on a warm, sunny day in January. The warmth of the sun coming in through the window allows them to re-hydrate and they will then attempt to fly around. If you’ve seen this, you may have noticed that the insect flies in a zig-zag pattern, and that they are very easy to catch in mid-flight.

What Effect Does Winter Have on Insects like the Emerald Ash Borer?

Many people thought the recent “Polar Vortex” of 2014 would reduce Emerald Ash Borer populations. While it may have reduced the populations in some areas in the far north, the overall average mortality rate was only about 5% or so. This is because the cold weather didn’t last long enough to result in a greater impact on populations. Also, even in cold weather the sun will warm-up a tree enough so that the larva stays warm and is protected from the bitter cold.
The reality is that each year we will never know what will happen during the months of winter. The one thing that we do know is that insect populations are not greatly affected by the winter weather. And yes, they will still be a problem in lawns and landscapes when spring comes along!

Spring-Green offers an array of insect control services, from flea and tick control and mosquito control in certain markets to perimeter pest control, which prevents spiders, ants and other critters from entering your home. Get in touch with your local Spring-Green to find out more about our guaranteed insect control services.

Ladybugs in the House? They Might Actually Be Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles

multicolored lady beetle vs ladybug

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.