You may have recently noticed clusters of ladybugs invading your home leaving unsightly yellow/orange fluid on your walls and windows. You’ll be surprised to learn these aren’t actually ladybugs. Instead, they are Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles (Harmonia axyridis), known by many different names including Asian Ladybugs, Asian Ladybirds, and Harlequin Lady Beetles. Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles are a part of the same family as ladybugs but are a completely different species. This invasive species was introduced to North America from Asia in 1916 in an attempt to control aphids. When the species began rapidly reproducing in the late 1980s the negative habits of the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles became known.
Negative Aspects of Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles:
- This invasive species is now the most common Coccinellidae species in North America, outcompeting many of the native ladybug species and taking over their habitats.
- This species tends to travel in swarms and can bite hard enough to break human skin.
- Unlike their native counterparts, these invasive prefer to overwinter inside homes.
- When agitated they secrete a yellowish fluid that stains light color surfaces and has a terrible odor.
- Some people are allergic to this invasive species and can experience allergic reactions when their homes are infested.
- Although uncommon, Asian Lady Beetles can become lodged inside of a dog’s mouth if they try and eat the beetle, which can lead to ulcers and discomfort. (Signs are drooling, foaming at the mouth, or your dog stopping eating)
How To Tell The Difference Between Ladybugs & Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles?
Asian Lady Beetles tend to be larger than native ladybugs and have more spots. However; the easiest way to tell if you’re dealing with one of the natives or this invasive species is to look at the beetle’s head. Asian Lady Beetles will have black/brown markings that look like a W or M depending on which way you’re looking. A native ladybug’s head will be black with small white cheeks. Despite common misconception, you cannot tell them apart by their coloring. Native ladybugs and Asian Lady Beetles both vary in color between yellow, orange, and bright red.
Native Ladybugs are actually considered beneficial insects and are a great option for naturally controlling soft-scale insects, spider mites, aphids and many other pests. Here at RTEC, we utilize Beneficial Insects on properties of clients that are chemically sensitive or prefer using organic options. To all our Beneficial Insect Release clients, you can rest assured that the Ladybugs we release on your property are native (Hippodamia convergens) and do not have the habit of infesting your homes.
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Infestations & Invasions:
As the weather grows colder, the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles leave their summer feeding sites in search of places to spend the winter. Unlike the native ladybugs, these Asian Lady Beetles prefer to spend the winter indoors living in your home’s cracks and crevices.
These beetles are drawn to light and color contrast. They are typically found on sunny exterior walls of your home, on window screens & sills, near lights, and on parts of your house where light and dark colors converge.
What Can You Do?
Seal Cracks & Tears: The best way to combat Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles is to keep them out of your home.
- Inspect your windows & exterior walls and make sure to seal all gaps or cracks you find.
- Check your window screens and screen doors for tears that Lady Beetles could enter through. Fix these tears or replace the screens to prevent entry.
- Seal gaps the lead to attics. That way if they do infest your attic you can prevent them from entering your living space.
Vacuum & Natural Remedies: If your home already has a problem with Lady Beetles the best course of action is to remove them.
- Once inside, the best course of action is to vacuum up the beetles. Vacuuming up these beetles will not usually kill them but it will allow you to remove them from your property. The easiest way to do this is to use a knee high nylon stocking inserted into your vacuum cleaner’s extension hose and held in place by a rubber band. When you are done vacuuming, remove the stocking and close it using the rubber band; this way the beetles won’t escape. Then you can dispose of the stocking and the Asian Lady Beetles in your outdoor trash.
- Although it has not been proven, some homeowners swear by burning lemon scented candles or spraying vinegar where Asain Lady Beetles congregate to deter them.