Ladybugs

October 6, 2015 1:27 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Every year right around this time, when the air is getting crisper and the days are getting shorter, people ask us about ladybugs.  “Why are they swarming on our house or near our front lights?”  While there is probably no other bug (entomologically speaking, a beetle) adored as much as this arthropod, they can also be a nuisance and a mess maker when they are seeking a home in which to overwinter.  Let’s examine these bright colored beetles and how they may affect your home.

Ladybug 101

Adult lady beetles have hemispherical to oval shaped bodies that can be yellow, pink, orange, red, or black, and usually are marked with distinct spots. The bright coloring is meant as a warning to discourage other animals that may see them as lunch.  They are also protected by an odorous fluid that is released when the beetle is disturbed.  Predators will remember the bright coloring next time they come near and avoid the stench.

Believe it or not ladybugs, also called lady beetles or ladybird beetles, are a very beneficial group. They are natural enemies of many insects, especially aphids and other sap feeders. A single lady beetle may eat as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime. (Source: University of Kentucky Agricultural Unit)

Fall Invasion

As the weather cools, ladybugs begin to look for a warm place to overwinter and may see your home as a great place to camp out!  Ladybugs are attracted to light colored houses. Especially, homes that have a clear southwestern sun exposure. Older homes tend to experience more problem due to lack of adequate insulation. Ladybugs find openings in the cracks of windows, vents, foundation and siding to find their way into your home.  Ladybugs gather in groups when they hibernate for the winter, so if you see one, you can be sure more will follow. The best way to keep them out is to repair damaged clap boards, window and door trim and to caulk small cracks.

Management

If you only have a few ladybugs invading your home, a shop vacuum or dustbuster will take care of the problem.  If you have large amounts you may notice stains showing up on items that the ladybugs have landed on.  This stain is actually their blood.  The yellow blood occurs when the beetle gets scared or feels somehow threatened.  This is a normal reaction to stressful situations called reflex bleeding. Releasing some of its blood is one way the ladybug can protect itself. The blood smells bad and signals to a predator that this ladybug is not a good lunch choice. If you are unsure how to handle your ladybug problem, contact Pest-End with questions and solutions.

 

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This post was written by sperling