Don’t judge a bug by its colors. Asian lady beetles have a striking resemblance to ladybugs. They are even related to the friendly red and black-spotted bugs. While native ladybugs are beneficial to your garden, Asian lady beetles like to invade homes in the fall. We’ve gathered information about Asian lady beetles to help you identify and eliminate an infestation.
Asian lady beetles are similar in appearance to native ladybugs. However, they come in a variety of colors including red, yellow, and orange. Those with an orange and black body are called Halloween lady beetles. Some Asian lady beetles have noticeable black spots while others have spots that appear faded. Though most have spots, there are Asian lady beetles that lack spots. Asian lady beetles are larger than other lady beetles and can grow up to about 1/3ʺ. The easiest way to spot the difference between them and native ladybugs is the M shaped spot located on their head. An Asian lady beetle’s face also has larger white patches than ladybugs.
Asian lady beetles were brought to the United States to help with pest problems in gardens. These bugs eat aphids and other pests that snack on garden plants. However, they will also eat native ladybugs. The main concern with these bugs is their habit of migrating inside during the winter. Unlike native ladybugs, the Asian lady beetle will overwinter in homes. They gather on the sunny parts of buildings and houses. Once temperatures begin to drop, they will seek shelter and warmth inside. They are often attracted to homes and buildings with a lighter coloring. They are found throughout the United States, but are most commonly spotted near fields and wooded areas.
One of the main problems with Asian lady beetles is their habit of gathering in one location. When these bugs find a suitable place to overwinter, they release pheromones, which alert other lady beetles to their location. This can lead to many Asian lady beetles moving into your home. Asian lady beetles also secrete a yellow liquid from their legs when crushed or startled. This liquid has an unpleasant scent and can stain walls, fabric, and furniture. Unlike friendly ladybugs, Asian lady beetles are more aggressive. If they feel threatened, they can bite. These bugs can also aggravate allergies and asthma especially when many are present.
As temperatures begin to decrease in late September and early October, Asian lady beetles will start looking for a safe place to overwinter. They gather in large groups on the sides of buildings and homes. If you notice these bugs hanging out on the exterior of your home, there’s a good chance they will try to slip inside for the winter. Spotting a few of these bugs in your home doesn’t always mean there’s an infestation, but it’s important to remember that they release pheromones that will attract other lady beetles. One or two lady beetles could quickly lead to a more serious infestation. If you notice unexplainable yellow stains, Asian lady beetles could be responsible. These will likely appear on walls and furniture near entry points like windows and doors.
The best way to avoid any infestation is to pest-proof your home. Asian lady beetles can squeeze into small cracks and crevices. Examine your home for openings that need to be sealed. Check near windows and doors, vents, pipes, and your home’s siding and foundation. Make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed. If window and door screens have any tears, you’ll want to repair or replace them. Asian lady beetles are known to eat damaged fruit including apples and grapes. Removing fallen fruit will help make your yard less attractive to these bugs. Like other pests, Asian lady beetles need access to moisture. Fix any leaky pipes and check for any moisture build-up in your home.
If Asian lady beetles are gathering on the exterior of your home, you’ll want to remove them before they slip inside. You can use soapy water to clean the siding. This should deter them from sticking around. You can also treat your yard with a spray, like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Yard Bug Spray. While it kills on contact, it also provides you with a residual repellency. This will help keep Asian lady beetles from returning to your yard. If these bugs have found their way into your home, you won’t want to crush them. This will release an unpleasant odor and could cause staining. Instead, you can remove them by sweeping or vacuuming. Make sure to empty the contents outside, away from your home. Treating your home with a spray, like Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Home Bug Spray, can also help to keep your home free of Asian lady beetles.
While ladybugs are great to have in your garden, you don’t want Asian lady beetles invading your home. One or two of these bugs won’t cause any harm, but large infestations can become a problem, especially when they emerge in the spring. If you’re dealing with a bug problem, we have your back! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.