First, recognize the species, are you sure they’re the nice guys?
Native ladybugs are orange with 12 black dots on their shells. They don’t bite or swarm inside homes, and endure winters outside. You’ll recognize them by the presence of two white lines that converge behind their heads.
There are also Asian lady beetles (or Asian ladybugs)- which have a varying amounts of spots – commonly I’ve seen have seven spots – and may range in color from pale orange, to yellow, or red. These beetles have an M-shaped marking under their heads and white markings on cheeks
It might not be native ladybugs that are swarming the insides of houses. Instead, the bugs might be Asian lady beetles. When the weather starts to cool down, the bugs seek warmth in your beautiful home. Asian lady beetles tend to have different behaviors that distinguish them from native ladybugs, including the ability to bite.
What Can You Do
Sealing any gaps, cracks / openings around windows / doors / AC units can help prevent pest entry. It’s always a good idea to repair / replace window screens with holes in them as needed. Once they’ve attained entry, they release pheromones that summon more to enter- in no time you may find a few of it’s family on a window or skylight.
If Asian lady beetles are found indoors, Jessica Damiano of The Weekly Dirt recommends vacuuming the bugs and placing the vacuum contents in the trash outside. This helps to prevent more from finding their way inside, she noted.
Ladybugs have an average of a one-year lifespan. In that time they can lay thousands of eggs and quickly multiply. Here’s a few quick tips to get rid of unwanted pests.
Sweep / Vacuume
As simple as it may sound, gathering up ladybugs with a dustpan or vacuum is one of the quickest and easiest ways to remove a colony. Vacuum up a group of ladybugs and immediately empty the vacuum bag outside. Physically relocating the colony will discourage more from joining if the infestation has not grown too large. After they are removed, wash the area with soap to eliminate any chemical trails used to attract more bugs.
If it is too difficult to simply relocate the colony, dish soap can be used to get rid of a large range of small bugs in your home. Spray a colony with soapy water or leave a bowl that combines soap and water near a light source where they gather. The thickness of the soap keeps the ladybugs from leaving the water easily.
Diatomaceous Earth offers an easy way to kill bugs in your home. This can typically be found online or at your local home repair store. Sprinkle the powder around your colony and around edges of common entry points to both deter and eliminate pests.
Make a ladybug-friendly light trap at home with common items in your kitchen. Cut a plastic soda bottle in half and flip the top half into the bottom portion to create a funnel. Add an LED light into the funnel, leaving room for the ladybugs to enter the bottom of the bottle. The beetles will flock toward the light but then get stuck in the trap, ready for release outside.
When in doubt- call the experts
Pest control is often best left to the professionals, especially if you’re uncertain how far your infestation extends. Ladybugs can hide in walls, crevices, and other small spaces simply too difficult to scope out on your own. I have a few great contacts handy and ready to help if you need a pest control guy 🙂
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