It’s not unusual to find the occasional rogue ladybug inside a home in Northeast Pennsylvania. According to some beliefs, a ladybug in the house is good luck, and it’s bad luck to kill it. Next time you see one inside your house, take a closer look.

Don’t be so sure it’s a ladybug. It could be a multicolored Asian lady beetle or Japanese lady beetle. The two insects look similar but are quite different in behavior and temperament.

The beetles resemble ladybugs on the surface.

What is an Asian beetle?

Asian beetles (and ladybugs) belong to the family Coccinellidae. The beetles resemble ladybugs on the surface. The two types of insects have different temperaments.

Ladybugs don’t bite. They do not infest wood, damage property, or carry disease. Ladybugs are a friend to gardeners and farmers because they consume harmful insects like aphids. They don’t damage plants and usually fly solo.

Asian beetles are beneficial insects to farmers and gardeners because they eat potentially destructive insects. For homeowners, Asian beetles are unwelcome pests.

Unlike ladybugs, who fly individually, Asian beetles congregate in large numbers near windows and doors seeking overwintering shelters. Once inside, they can be a nuisance. Fortunately, like ladybugs they do not infest wood, cause property damage, or carry disease.

Some can “bite” by scraping the skin when they land—hard enough to break the skin—and leave behind a foul-smelling yellow discharge that can stain light-colored fabrics. The bite and/or the yellowish discharge can trigger an allergic reaction in some people.

What do Asian beetles eat?

These insects feed on aphids and other soft-bodied insects that destroy agricultural crops and gardens. When their primary food source is exhausted, they will move on to another source, typically fall-ripening fruit like apples, grapes, and fall raspberries. They feed on the food source through cavities—usually a hole previously made by a bird or other insect.

Why do they look like ladybugs?

Both ladybugs and Asian beetles belong to the same family, which explains the physical similarities. Upon closer inspection, however, there are obvious differences.

Asian beetles are larger than ladybugs and range in color from orange to yellow to red (a standard ladybug is typically red). Similar coloring aside, the markings are the biggest difference between the two insects. Asian beetles sometimes have several black spots on their wing covers. Their most noticeable distinguishing feature is the “M”-shaped black marking on the back of the head.

Asian beetles are larger than ladybugs and range in color from orange to yellow to red.

When is the Asian beetle season?

Asian beetles are native to Asia but are found in many other parts of the world, including several areas of the United States like Northeast Pennsylvania. These insects were actually brought to North America to help control the aphid population. As sometimes happens, the beetle population exploded. They are commonly found in gardens, fields, and wooded areas.

They usually lay eggs beginning in early spring. Their infestation season runs from September-November when they look for indoor shelter during the winter.

How do you get rid of them?

Prevention is the most effective way to keep these insects out of your home. They pose no real danger to your property, family, or pets; however, they are generally considered a nuisance because the beetles congregate in such a large mass near doors or windows.

Here are a few ways to keep them out of your home:

  • Secure all cracks/openings in and around door and window frames
  • Cover windows, doors, and exhaust fans with a fine mesh to keep bugs out
  • Choose a dark-colored paint for any exterior painting project, as these bugs are drawn to light-colored surfaces
  • If considering a trap, consider a light trap. Place them strategically around your property in relatively dark, enclosed areas with no competing light. Commercial black (ultra-violet) light traps are an effective method of capturing these insects.
  •  Sticky tapes or boards are another effective method for catching these insects. For best results, place them near potential entry points.

For beetles already in your home, simply using a broom to sweep them up and deposit them into a dustpan is the best way to get rid of them. The vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool is another good option. A word of caution—don’t let the beetles sit in the vacuum bag for too long, as dead beetles emit a foul odor after a few days.

Call a pest control management professional to assist with exceptionally large masses of Asian beetles. Taking the DIY approach to large-scale pest removal—especially if you are considering using pesticides—can be expensive and hazardous to your health. Contact The Pest Rangers Team below and let one of our skilled technicians handle the problem in a safe, responsible manner.


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