Asian Lady Beetles
Ladybugs! The Asian lady beetle (harmonia axyridis) is a brightly colored beetle with tiny spots scattered across their bodies. They’re one of the useful insects you can find in your garden because they dine on aphids and other soft-bodied insects, but they can turn into pests when they move into your home during the winter. When threatened, they can also emit a noxious yellow substance from their legs that can stain surfaces.
Like other insects, lady beetles go through four stages of development:
- Egg: resembles tiny yellow jellybeans and can be found in clusters on the underside of leaves.
- Larval: tiny, black and yellow.
- Pupal: looks like a yellowish-orange shrimp.
- Mature: oval shaped; bright red, orange, or yellow, with any number of black spots on their wings.
Asian lady beetles are common in wooded areas, fields, and home gardens. Lady beetles will fly around looking for food sources, such as insects and even fall-ripening apples and other fruit plants. They only consume fruit that already have openings made by birds and other insects.
Asian Lady Beetle Signs and Symptoms
Lady beetles tend to invade buildings in the fall, as they prepare for winter. Swarms of these bugs may be visible on windows, doors, wall crevices, and inside attics from September through November, depending on location and weather conditions. While they don’t cause any serious harm, they can emit an unpleasant odor and a yellowish staining fluid when disturbed. Asian lady beetle infestations can also cause allergies in some people.
Asian Lady Beetle Prevention
Asian lady beetles are usually not a problem in gardens, unless they can’t find aphids to feed on and they begin to eat fruit. If you have fall-ripening fruit trees and plants such as apples, grapes, or raspberries, pick up any fallen fruit and remove all damaged fruit from the plant. This helps discourage lady beetles from snacking.
If you find ladybugs inside, your best option is to leave them alone if you can. Disturbing them may cause them to emit that smelly, staining yellow fluid. Besides, they will not eat anything indoors and will leave as soon as the weather warms. But if you need to get rid of them fast, the simplest method of removal is probably the vacuum cleaner.
To help prevent insects from finding their way indoors, seal any small cracks and openings in walls and around windows and pipes in the spring and early summer, and plug larger holes with cement, foam, or copper mesh. Any gaps under sliding glass doors can be filled with foam weather stripping. Repair window and door screens where needed, and install screens behind attic vents. For persistent lady beetle problems, consult a pest control professional. The experts at Cardinal Lawns are ready to help you fight off infestations and prevent new ones from invading your home and garden.
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