Cute Bug or Uninvited Messy Houseguest

Asian Lady Beetles are commonly looked at as a cute and harmless bug. However if you are unfortunate enough to become home to this invasive species, it may not seem so cute anymore.

As the Fall Season enters our area, like many other insects, Asian Lady Beetles begin to look for protection from the cool temperatures. That leaves your home as a prime target for this seemingly harmless beetle to seek out for a safe and warm winter. Any cracks or openings around doors, windows, chimneys, plumbing or wires can be a great pathway into your home.

These beetles make the use of pheromones to send out the message that there is a nice warm area to gather. And in some cases, this gathering gets quite numerous. It is common for thousands of beetles to invade and make the attic space and wall voids in a single home, a place to overwinter. As warmer days come and go, they will seek their way into living spaces where they are seeking out warmer areas filled with sunlight to congregate. So, Asian Lady Beetles can become quite a nuisance, not just by thousands of them sharing your home, but they can also have other negative effects. Asian Lady Beetles can bite, although it is usually nothing more than a prick of the skin followed by a mild irritation, unless allergic. Another negative consequence is the stains they can leave on furniture, carpets, clothes and curtains. When agitated, they release a small amount of this foul smelling secretion. The liquid that is released from their legs will stain anything that they are on, with porous surfaces most susceptible to stains that will require thorough cleaning. If not cleaned in a short amount of time, these stains can become permanent. So be careful not to crush the beetle, unless you want a smelly mess to clean up.

Although the Asian Lady Beetle is not a natural inhabitant of Tennessee, we have plenty. This is because they were originally introduced in the U.S. by farmers to assist with protecting crops such as soybean fields. The beetle has a voracious appetite for aphids and can eat as many as 250 per day. This assisted farmers by becoming a natural pesticide. However, as with many insects, this introduction to a new environment has caused some areas to become overrun with tens of thousands of Asian Lady Beetles in a single home.

We do have native Lady Beetles. The keys to identifying the difference are color and patterns. Asian Lady Beetles are generally more orange or tan in color, have many spots and an obvious black and white “W” or “M” shape on the head area. The natural species is more of a red color, has less spots and mostly black area on the head. The native species is less aggressive, lives outdoors and helps control pests. So if you have an indoor invasion, more than likely you are becoming host to a very large Asian Lady Beetle horde. It has been suggested to simply remove them with a vacuum, and then empty the vacuum, to reduce the amount of beetles in your home. However, a more thorough approach is required involving treating the outside and inside of your home to get rid of this unwelcome winter house guest. Call Certified Pest Control today, to help assess your beetle issues.

 

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