Ladybugs are loved and adored by many. With their characteristic red shells and black spots, they’re often admired by even the most squeamish of individuals. Children allow these little beetles to crawl across their hands, and gardeners appreciate the pest control ladybugs provide.
But in recent decades, a similar beetle has swept through the states: the Asian lady beetle. While Asian lady beetles can be yellow, orange, or red with black or no spots, they can easily be mistaken for the little ladybugs that are native to our nation.
Asian lady beetles may seem harmless enough for the most part, but many homeowners and business owners struggle with lady beetle infestations in or around their homes and businesses. So, are these bugs a concern? Or are they a friend?
To learn more about the origin of these mysterious beetles and whether or not they’re a pest or pal, read on.
Where Do Asian Lady Beetles Come From?
As suggested by the name, Asian lady beetles are actually from Asia. They are commonly found in Russia, Japan, Korea, and China, and they are usually found feeding on aphids in trees.
However, to control some of the pest population in various crops, such as apples and pecans, these foreign beetles were intentionally released in various states across the US. Some people also suspect that Asian lady beetles were accidentally transported into Louisiana through a Japanese freighter.
These beetles have adapted fairly well to their new environment and successfully find food in various crops and gardens instead of trees. Even now, they’re still spreading across the country.
How Are They Pals?
If they eat garden pests, they can’t be so bad, right? Actually, in the springs and summers, these little beetles are wonderful friends. Their favorite snacks are mites, mealybugs, and aphids, so they can ultimately protect your plants from troublesome insects.
Also, Asian lady beetles aren’t known to carry any diseases, so they’re a family-friendly bug to have in the yard. They may occasionally bite, but the small nip isn’t much of a concern.
If they collect in any areas around your property, rest assured that they don’t damage fabrics, wood, or other materials. They also don’t find human food appetizing, so you don’t have to worry about infested food supplies if they come into the house.
How Are They Pests?
Asian lady beetles wonderfully gobble up the garden pests in the warmer months, but where exactly do they go in the cold months? In their native countries, these beetles often collect under cliffs or similar areas and use each other’s body heat for warmth. However, there isn’t always an abundance of cliffs in the United States, so Asian lady beetles settle for the next best thing: homes and buildings.
The lady beetles collect in cracks around roofs, doors, and windows to find a cozy place to stay for the winter. If there are cracks that go all the way into the home, many of these beetles will gather indoors, and they sometimes gather in living areas and attics.
While Asian lady beetles don’t damage wood or other building materials, many people find the small swarm of Asian lady beetles a nuisance. Also, if Asian lady beetles feel threatened, they excrete a substance from their legs in a process called reflex bleeding. This substance can leave behind yellow stains and the strong scent of dead leaves.
Furthermore, some people can have allergic reactions to the protective substance that oozes from the lady beetles’ legs. Some people can have a reaction to the beetles themselves. Lady beetles and their reflex bleeding secretions can cause asthma issues, sinus and skin irritation, and allergic conjunctivitis. So, even if you don’t have a problem with a collection of lady beetles in your attic, your body may disagree.
How Can You Maintain a Healthy Relationship With Asian Lady Beetles?
To avoid any allergic reactions or unpleasant odors, keep the lady beetles out of your building for the winter. To keep them out, use caulk to seal up any cracks in your home or building. Check for cracks by fascia boards, soffits, utility pipes, wires, doors, and windows. If you have large holes or cracks, use urethane foam or cement to fill them.
Also, be sure to replace any damaged screens on windows or doors so beetles can’t sneak through the openings. If you have any attic vents, be sure you have functional screens over each one. Use foam weather stripping to also enforce areas under sliding glass.
If you have any other questions about how to prevent Asian lady beetles from marching into your home, call a local pest control company, such as Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management. Pest control professionals can offer effective solutions to keep your home pest free all year long.