Ah, the ladybug. It’s one of the garden’s most colorful and welcome visitors. The slayer of the aphid! The protector of the rose! The incredibly undesirable winter houseguest..? As anyone who has had the misfortune to experience a ladybug infestation will know, these little guys aren’t quite as innocuous as they might seem. They make a mess. They smell bad. And they can actually make you pretty sick.
So, what do you need to know about the ladybug? And how can you stop it from invading your home?
The native ladybug is smaller, and a brighter red color. Its Asian counterpart can grow to around 7mm – which is actually pretty big, when you think about it – has more of an orange tone and has larger white patches on its face. The Asian lady beetle also has an ‘m’ shaped white mark on the back of its head, which is the main way that you can tell the two species apart.
Ladybugs aren’t exactly dangerous, but another distinguishing factor between the two species is that Asian lady beetles bite. The popular view of the ladybug is that it’s a harmless gardening friend. And this is true of the native species. But while the Asian lady beetle is also good at decimating an aphid population, it will bite humans if threatened. The bite isn’t dangerous to us, but it can cause pain and irritation.
Both species can cause allergies when they infest a home. Symptoms can range from itchy eyes to hives and wheezing. So, while they’re cute in your yard, you don’t really want them indoors.
Another concern with Asian lady beetles is that they can cause serious health problems in dogs if chewed or swallowed, from ulceration to poisoning. So, if you see it happen, you need to get your dog checked out by a vet immediately. And if you have lady bugs in your home, keep your pets away.
How do you know if have a ladybug infestation?
If you have your windows open in summer, the chances are that a ladybug or two will come in. That’s nothing to worry about. But if you see ladybugs in your home in the colder months, you might want to investigate further.
Ladybugs hibernate. So, when the cooler weather hits they find somewhere cozy and settle in. And they rarely do it alone. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find swarms of around 15,000 insects in a single home.
Their favorite places are siding cracks, window frames, door jams, foundations and in walls and ceilings. If you don’t see the actual creatures, you may notice other signs. These include:
- A yellowish staining on surfaces around the nesting site.
- A noxious moldy odor.
How to prevent ladybugs moving in
The problem with ladybugs is that once they’ve made your home or business their own, they’ll keep coming back. And they’ll bring their friends. They release pheromones around the habitation site so that they all know where to go come next season. So, once they’re in, they can be hard to shift. In that case, a professional pest management service is your best option.
But prevention is possible. These tips might help.
- Seal all cracks in your home. Window frames, doors, around pipework, sidings, roofing and foundations. If there aren’t any gaps, they can’t get in.
- Use repellents. Ladybugs don’t like cloves, bay leaves, chrysanthemums or citrus oils. If you use these when cleaning, or place them around potential entry points, the insects might just rethink their plans.
As far as household pests go, ladybugs could be worse. They don’t carry diseases. They don’t raid your pantry. And they don’t destroy your home. But they can trigger allergies, make your pets sick and rival the stink bug for odor. So, you probably don’t want them as houseguests.
If you’re reading this because you think you already have them, call the Noosa Pest Management team today. Your home will be your own again in no time: 704-499-9922