As temperatures dwindle and the leaves of your deciduous maples, dogwoods, and box elders begin their transition from lush green to ever-so-familiar reds, oranges, and yellows, it’s clear that the seasons are changing. Fall is among us in Pennsylvania, welcoming hot cider, pumpkin patches, faux spiderwebs, and witchy broomsticks adorning porches. 

When you think of Fall, you’ll likely be grateful for the decline in common Summer pest insects like ants, black flies, wasps, and other creepy crawlies. However, don’t celebrate just yet; this Halloween, children won’t be the only costume-sporting critters knocking on your front door! 

If you’ve ever wondered why even after you get rid of ladybugs, you find them coming back in the fall months, I have some bad news; these aren’t the same insects you know and love. What you’re likely encountering is actually an imposter: the Halloween Beetle. 

What is a Halloween Beetle? 

Also known as the Asian Lady Beetle, these insects gain their colloquial name from their pumpkin-orange appearance and the approximate time they’re most active. Halloween beetles are a close relative to the common ladybug species we all know and love. However, Halloween beetles are far less pleasant, more of a nuisance, and slightly more monstrous than their polka-dotted cousins!

Halloween beetles are generally viewed as nuisance pests due to their invasive and undesirable habits. While non-venomous, Halloween beetles have been known to nibble on humans on rare occasions; imagine your horror after picking up what you believe to be a harmless ladybug, only to receive a rough scrape from an imposter! In addition, Halloween beetles are known to produce a sticky, staining, foul-smelling orange liquid from their leg parts when feeling threatened–a process known as “reflex bleeding.” 

These insects differ from ladybugs in several ways. While sporting a rather convincing costume with similar spots and colors, these imposters aren’t as harmless nor look the same as the beloved yellow ladybug. When compared to a ladybug, Halloween beetles feature: 

  • A slightly larger overall size 
  • Longer abdomen and snout
  • Colors ranging from yellow to orange, rather than red
  • A primarily white head with a discernible black “M” pattern

Next, we’ll discuss habits. Unlike ladybugs, who travel individually, Halloween beetles are often found in droves. They also tend to collect in sunny areas, windows, and windscreens in the warmer months. 

Additionally, come Winter, when ladybugs seek shelter outdoors, Halloween beetles have been known to turn indoors to your home. Halloween beetles are often found squeezing through cracks in siding and torn window screens to gain entry into your residence, where they’ll attempt to hibernate until late the following summer or early fall. 

What is the Halloween Beetle and Are They Dangerous?Where Do They Come From? 

Outer space? The graveyard? Or maybe from a Witch’s spellbook? Unfortunately, the origins of Halloween beetles aren’t as spooky as their name suggests. To answer this probing question, we’ll split it into two separate but equally important topics: Entomology and Habits. 


Halloween beetles aren’t a native species to Pennsylvania or any part of the continental U.S. As previously mentioned, Halloween beetles are also known as the Japanese Lady Beetle or Asian Lady Beetle because they are native to areas of Japan, China, Russia, and Korea. 

Halloween beetles were intentionally brought and released in the U.S. as early as 1916. While stinkier and potentially more of a nuisance than the common ladybug, the Halloween beetle is an aggressive predator that can consume hundreds of aphids and other common agricultural pests, protecting our crops and gardens. 


This leads us to another interesting question: where do Halloween beetles come from every year? 

Halloween beetles are “overwintering” insects that hibernate through the colder months. Once the leaves have fallen and cold weather settles in PA, surviving adults seek shelter. Often, they’ll find a warm nook in your attic or walls and sleep off the cold. Once awakened, they’ll emerge from their dwellings and replenish their population. 

How Do You Get Rid of Them? 

All-in-all, Halloween beetles aren’t necessarily a bad bug, though they’re commonly viewed as a nuisance pest due to their overwhelming population booms and propensity to settle in your home. If you’re suffering from a mild to severe Halloween beetle infestation, there are several easy tips and tricks to keep them at bay.

Prevent Them From Entering in the First Place 

Preventative pest control using natural methods is much more effective and safer than chemical treatments. All you need to do keep Halloween beetles out is to close off all openings. 

So seal any gaps in your siding or windows with suitable latex caulking, repair any torn window screens and replace worn garage seals. In addition, install bug-resistant mesh on all attic and crawl-space vents, and keep doors closed to prevent them from crawling or flying across your threshold. 

Suck Them Up! 

If you’re already dealing with an infestation, there are other ways to keep Halloween beetles out. 

Vacuum cleaners are an excellent way to rid your home of both live and dead beetles, but don’t just go grab the hoover and get to cleaning! Remember that Halloween beetles expel a sticky, stinky, and staining liquid when threatened, and the last thing you’ll want is a vacuum full of foul-smelling goop. 

Using a nylon stocking is one of the most effective methods of preventing Halloween beetles from traveling into the furthest depths of your vacuum while still capturing them. Insert the closed end of a nylon stocking into a vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment and secure the stocking using a rubber band, thus creating a nifty and easily disposable bag! 


Another method to keep out pests is to trap them. Use an ultraviolet trap to lure in and capture Halloween beetles without ever touching them! However, avoid traps that utilize an electrical charge to kill insects. These traps will turn every Halloween bug into a compact stink bomb, filling your house with an unsatisfactory scent. 


If all else fails, a few EPA-approved insecticides are effective against Halloween beetles. Use them wisely, or contact your local pest professionals for a quote!        

Next time you’re reaching to pick up a seemingly harmless little ladybug, keep an eye out for the telltale “M” pattern on its head, elongated body, and pumpkin orange color, or else you might end up with a quick bite and a handful of sticky orange goop! 

Besides their unappealing behavior and fondness for the interior of your home, Halloween beetles are relatively harmless and beneficial to the environment. So leave them be when you spot them outdoors and keep an eye out for any tiny imposters during this year’s Halloween costume party!  

Pest Issues? Contact The Pest Rangers Today.