Ladybug Infestation? Here’s How to Keep Them Out

Winter is just around the corner, and as the warm days become fewer, our cozy homes here in Northeastern Pennsylvania become more appealing – and not just to us. As the chill of winter creeps up, overwintering pests are on the hunt for the perfect place to spend those cold days.

From aphids to stink bugs, there are plenty of nuisance bugs to be on the lookout for, but one little orange-red bug has increasingly become a problem.

As fall starts to fade, chances are you will see homes and buildings covered in what looks like ladybugs. If you suspect you may have a ladybug infestation, here’s what you should look for and seven tips to put a stop to it.

don't be fooled by the asian beetle

Ladybugs Infestation Season is Here

As winter approaches, overwintering pests are looking for a place to keep warm during the cold months ahead. While it may seem like ladybugs are among these pests, Asian lady beetles are the real culprits. These pests are an invasive species that are near-identical to our common ladybugs.

However, real ladybugs prefer forests, debris, or grassy areas. Lady beetles, on the other hand, seek out warm places to hibernate over the winter.

What are Asian Ladybugs?

Asian lady beetles are about 7 mm long and they can appear in a few different colors: yellow, orange, or red. They also have a random number of spots on their wings. While they may look like your average ladybug, lady beetles can be identified by the “M” shaped marker on their heads.

Asian lady beetles behave much like regular ladybugs in the warmer months. They live in woods, fields, or gardens. They are plant feeders, and often work as little exterminators for garden pests. However, they seek out heat and moisture and are drawn to bright, well-lit places. Often, they seek out light-colored homes or siding in direct sunlight. If they find their way inside, you will see them gathered around a window.

Asian lady beetles don’t have natural enemies, and when they are threatened, they release pheromones that leave a fairly bad smell to ward off would-be predators.

The Problem with Asian Ladybugs

Though Asian lady beetles look a lot like ladybugs, they are much more aggressive. These pests can bite, though they don’t do so often. Also, the odor they release is an awful chemical scent that can linger for as long as a year. Other Asian lady beetles will be drawn to these pheromones, and that means they will return to your home the following year.

Thankfully, they don’t carry diseases, and they won’t cause structural damage. However, they can leave yellow streaks wherever they land. While one or two may not be a problem, lady beetles usually hatch in large numbers.

know the differencesStopping the Infestation

If you find yourself with a lady beetle infestation, or you want to stop them from getting inside, there are a few things you could do on your own. While it’s not recommended you take on a large pest problem yourself, here are a few simple things you could to keep ladybugs and other overwinter bugs out of your home.

1. Seal All Entryways

The best way to keep lady beetles from infesting your home is to keep them out in the first place. Perform regular maintenance on your home. Seal up cracks and openings around your doors and windows. Check any possible entryways: windows, doors, vents, pipes, etc. Use mesh to close off any areas you can’t seal and use caulking or foaming sealants on any areas you can. Be sure to reapply to keep those pests out.

2. Check Screens

Likewise, with any door frames, cracks, or other openings, check the screens around your home. Ladybugs can easily fly through a window screen and make their way inside. Repair any screens that may have been damaged throughout the year.

3. Keep Your Yard Trim

Lady beetles are drawn to overgrown areas. It’s a good idea to keep your yard and garden trimmed. Any wood should be stored at least 20 feet from the house, and plants should be maintained.

keep your lawn neat

4. Turn Lights off at Night

Like many insects, lady beetles are drawn to light. While you can’t exactly turn off the sun, the next best thing would be turning off your outside lights at night. If you need to have a light on, make sure it’s a motion-sensor light. Also, use a bulb that won’t give off too much heat.

5. Vacuum them up!

If a ladybug infestation manages to get inside, an easy way to dispose of it is with a vacuum. Once you do, remove the bag and toss it immediately. If you want to kill them outright, put them in soapy water. Do not leave the bag. The ladybugs can easily crawl out. If you want to trap them and you have a bagless vacuum, you can use nylon stockings to trap them.

6. Make a Light Trap

If you want to get rid of lady beetles, use their attraction to light. You can construct or use a light trap to gather these pests and remove them from your home.

7. Change the Smell

Part of the problem with Asian lady beetles is the scent they release. Other lady beetles are drawn to it and it could keep these pests coming back. Try to remove the scent or change it using other smells these insects can’t stand. Bay leaves and cloves can be effective. You can also plant or purchase mums to keep these little pests at bay.

Out for the Winter

The key to keeping these overwintering pests out of your hair is to stop them from getting inside. Perform yearly maintenance and be sure your home is protected. If you do have a large ladybug infestation, it may be wise to seek help from one of our pest control experts. Don’t settle for any unwanted guests this winter. Take the steps and keep your home bug-free.

 


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