Don’t worry… bee happy about beneficial insects!

Children Embrace our beneficial insects. Shouldn’t you?

Children are so fun and curious about bugs!  Little Johnny often doesn’t think twice about picking up a spider by the leg and running to show his mommy. When he shows her his discovery, mom will often scream and run as far away as possible. Johnny will inevitably laugh, uncontrollably, while mom yells “Get that thing out of here!”

Beneficial insects are fun for the children to study and read about

It’s a common story that we hear over and over.  There are so many exaggerated horror stories about various insects: Brown recluse spiders will cause your leg to fall off. Termites will eat your house down to the ground. You will surely die a terrible disease if bitten by a mosquito. Who knows where these stories come from or why. But, they create a fear in some folks that are hard to shake.

The honey bee and other beneficial insects have an important role in our environment

Take the honey bee, for example.   They are the pollinators for our food crops. Their population has been in a steady decline in recent years due to a number of factors such as viruses, parasites, poor nutrition, limited access to clean water and exposure to pesticides. WHAT??? Exposure to pesticides?? Yes, it is true. We all (including us) have a huge responsibility in taking care to protect the honey bee and other beneficial insects.

In the spring you will sometimes see huge swarms of bees in the bushes and flowering trees. Sometimes they will stick around for a few minutes and then be gone. Sometimes they will stay for a few days. It’s easy to grab that jug of bug juice or call an exterminator to get rid of them. But, if they are not in an area that will harm you or your loved ones then it is usually best to leave them to collect the pollen. The additional benefit is that your plants and flowers will be even more beautiful later on.

There are a variety of other insects that are beneficial. Usually, most people first think of ladybugs or the asian lady beetle. Absolutely! Did you know that there are more than 400 species of the lady beetles in North America? There are also lacewings, parasitic wasps, spiders, tachinid flies, pirate bugs (aaaargh!) and ground beetles, just to name a few.

Honey bee gathering pollen: We must protect our beneficial insects.
Honey bee gathering pollen: We must protect our beneficial insects.

Protecting the environment and people at the same time

As a pest control professional, our goal is to protect your home from a pest invasion. If there is a pest problem in your living space then, yes, there is a cause for concern. You will want to eliminate the problem to prevent disease and illness/injury in your family. But, if we can keep your environment safe without having a negative impact on the rest of Murfreesboro, middle Tennessee, and beyond, then we are all winning.

Asian Lady Beetles… why are they here?

Why are the Asian Lady Beetles (Ladybugs) still here, they ask…

Dan and Vicky Cassidy
Dan and Vicky Cassidy, Owners of The Bug Man

Here at The Bug Man office we have received many calls over the past few weeks asking why the ladybugs are still in the houses.  What can be done about them?  And when will they leave?  Well, these are great questions.  I will shed some light on the topic of the Asian Lady Beetles and why they are still pestering everyone.

But first, my wife Vicky and I spent yesterday up at Land Between the Lakes.  It was a beautiful spring day, a nice breeze across the water and the sun was shining.  Of course, being  “The Bug Man”,  I had to look for some of the little wildlife out among us.  While awaiting the ferry to cross Kentucky Lake, I spotted a few of the Asian Lady Beetles sunning out on a log.   This made a great photo opportunity.

ladybugs and asian Lady Beetles
Asian Lady Beetles overwintering

With spring here in Middle Tennessee and the warming weather, the lady beetles are wanting to go outside just as much as we are.  It is just not quite warm enough yet.  Remember back to the fall, when the lady beetles swarmed the houses and tried to squeeze into every nook and cranny they could find?  In the fall, just after the first hard freeze, the lady beetles know it is time to find a warm place to burrow down, known as overwintering, for the winter.  They do this as adults as part of their natural life cycle.  Normally, they would find a large pile of brush or rock crevices to nest in.  But, we have built beautiful homes with attics, wall voids, and crawl spaces with thick insulation for them to stay nice and warm for the winter.  They seek out these areas to survive the cold.  Once the temperatures begin to warm, the lady beetles wake up and move around.  Being that the inside temperatures are higher than the outside, many of them prefer to stay indoors, and that is why they continue to pester you.

What to do with the Asian Lady Beetles in your Home

Asian Lady Beetles sunning on a log
Lady Beetles sunning on a log

Once the Asian Lady Beetles are inside your home, you have two choices: 1.  Vacuum them up and empty the bag or canister.  They do emit a foul smell, so it is wise to empty them out of the vacuum.  2.  Capture and release them.  This could be time consuming if you have a large infestation, but remember, the Asian Lady Beetle is a beneficial insect and every one that is released will have an opportunity to help protect our gardens from other pests.  We do not recommend spraying inside for lady beetles, as the end result is the same.  You will still need to sweep or vacuum them up and empty the bags.

What can you do in the future to help prevent a lady beetle invasion?

The two most important steps to take to prevent a future Asian Lady Beetle invasion are as follows: 1.  Seal all the cracks and crevices around the exterior of your home that will allow the lady beetles entry into the attic, crawl space, and wall voids.  Caulk around the doors and windows and replace seals as needed.  2. Have a residual pest control application applied to the exterior of your home in the fall that is labeled for the beetles.  These two recommendations will reduce the numbers of lady beetles that overwinter in your home and become a nuisance pest.

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