You may have noticed some new tenants in your home this past week. With the weather warming up Asian Lady Beetles are making their way out of whatever nook or cranny they found their way into last fall.
Below is a quick “who, what, when, where, and why” on these relatively new bugs and a very helpful “how” that tells you what to do to help evict them this year and prevent them next year!
Who are you and who sent you?!?!
- These beetles were released by the Department of Agriculture from the 60’s to the 90’s in attempts for a more natural pesticide in several southern states. They are native to Asia, hints the name, and genuinely help keep the aphid population in check during the spring and summer months when they are living in the fields and trees. They do tend to be a nuisance though when they decide that your home is a perfect winter getaway.
What do they do in my house?!?!
- Pretty much just hang out. Think of them like a college kid on winter break. They can stink, might bite you, and occasionally leave a weird fluid where they go, and may give you an allergic reaction but with the added benefit of knowing they won’t reproduce inside or spread disease. To elaborate; they don’t have a habit of damaging property, although occasionally will leave an odor or secrete a yellow fluid if they happen to die. They aren’t known for carrying disease, although some people will have an allergic reaction to them… best to wash your hands if you touch them… same might apply to the college kid. There have been a few claims of people being bitten by them but they will more or less ignore you like a typical kid that is just there to sit in his room and play video games.
When did they move in?!?!
- These beetles have a habit of appearing twice a year. They first show up in the late fall and are in search of a place to “winterize” and stay relatively dormant until spring. Often its one afternoon that they decide to invade. Beetles leave the “wild” in search of these winter getaways, ie your home, and once one finds it they emit a pheromone that lets all the beetles within miles that your house is this years winter hot spot! They then come back out in the spring to go back to the fields after this relaxing vacation.
Where are they?!?!
- Not to creep you out further… but in your walls. Well not just there. They enjoy sunlight. Often they are found in window and door frames on the sunny side of the house. You will see them invading on the outside of your homes especially if you have white gutters or siding. They will hang out under the siding, in the fascia, or really just any crack or crevice they can slip into. They also love attics if they can get in. Usually you will see more outside in the fall and more inside in the spring because those inside are really just trying to find their way out and got turned around on which way that was!
- Bad luck. As stated above they are finding a place to remain dormant. Your home fit the criteria and didn’t have any deterrent in place so once that first little lady found it she screamed “Party!” and the rest came running… or flying, you get the idea. But don’t sulk, because below we got some tips to make sure your house keeps those stinky, dormant, college kids away… and the lady beetles too!
How do I evict them today and prevent them tomorrow?!?!
This is the question you all have really been asking. So here are a few methods to consider when dealing with these little ladies.
- First: VACUUM! Vacuum everything! If you are being swarmed using a vacuum to suck them up and then either dumping the canister outside or tossing it is the best first aid a homeowner can do.
- Second: Catch and release. These ladies are pretty slow and should be easy to guide on to a piece of paper and then place outside. Caution though, if it’s the fall they will come right back in, in the spring they should move on their way.
- Third: Pesticide. There are not many pesticides labeled for these beetles. It takes a pretty serious knockdown and isn’t something you want to be spraying all over the house if you don’t know how to properly apply the product. But a local professional should be able to help with stronger products and safer application. This will probably not eradicate them but should help speed up the process and give you a fighting chance.
- These are simple to do, but difficult to time. They need to be done in the fall. Not so early that they wear out by the time of invasion, but not too late that the beetles have already arrived.
There are two ways to prevent: make your home less appealing, and create a deterrent for them.
- First: Exclusion. Seal any cracks in your structure. Make sure vents are sealed as well. Also be sure your doors, windows and garage have good weather stripping.
- Second: Deter. This can be done with pesticides at the right time. A pest professional can apply product around your windows and doors and any area that they feel is a good nesting spot. Make sure they use a product with a residual that will deter the beetles from wanting to stay there. Also oils may work as well. A lot of insects do not like peppermint oil. These combinations could be a great deterrent and get them to go to their neighbor’s house instead of your own. Remember, it is all about the timing though!
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