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.
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.
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.
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.