Ladybug / Ladybird Beetles
There are 475 species of ladybird beetles, also known as ladybugs or lady beetles, throughout North America. Ladybugs are beneficial because they eat aphids and other insects that can damage agricultural crops and plants in gardens. In fact, from the 1960s through the early 1980s, the U.S. government released thousands of non- native Asian lady beetles to combat crop-damaging insects. Some species of ladybugs hibernate in large numbers during the winter and will often take shelter in buildings. Large populations of ladybird beetles are usually associated with cool, wet summers because those conditions are also ideal for bigger populations of aphids.
Some ladybird species bite people if provoked or if there is something on your skin that attracts them. These small, relatively painless bites may result in a tiny red mark. Ladybirds are also known to nibble on people looking for moisture or trying to identify an unfamiliar surface. These nibbles will not break the skin.
Ladybug Beetle Infestation
Ladybugs are found throughout most of North America and live on or near plants with large aphid colonies. In addition to aphids, these beetles eat scale insects, mealybugs and other soft-bodied insects that are usually harm plants.
Female ladybird beetles will lay their eggs in groups on plants that are infested with aphids. Ladybird beetles go through a complete metamorphosis, beginning as tiny alligator-shaped larvae. As the weather gets colder, some ladybird beetle species will start looking for a place to hibernate during the winter. Large numbers of these ladybird beetles will gather on the sunny-side of rocks, trees or buildings. The ladybird beetles will eventually find their way through any cracks or crevices in the structure and hibernate in attics, wall voids and other dark, quiet spaces.
Ladybird beetles have a couple of interesting defense mechanisms. When alarmed ladybird beetles will secrete a stinking yellowish fluid, which can stain rugs, curtains and walls. Ladybird beetles will also “play dead” to protect themselves.
Types of Ladybird Beetles
Ladybird Beetle Identification
Adult ladybird beetles range in size from 1/32 to 3/8-inch. They have dome- shaped bodies, heads that are mostly hidden under their bodies, and short antennae. Ladybird beetles can be shiny red, orange, yellow or even black with distinct markings. The usual color combination is yellow, orange or red with black markings and black with yellow or red markings.
Ladybugs In The Home & The Apartment
The problem with ladybirds comes when they decide to seek shelter in your home for the winter, by the hundreds. Hundreds of ladybirds hiding in your eaves or walls, and crawling on your windows during warm winter days can be a nuisance. Ladybirds won’t reproduce inside your home or cause structural damage, but dead ladybird bodies can attract other pests. Ladybirds can also stain furniture, curtains and carpeting with a chemical they release if squished or threatened. Some people can have an allergic reaction to an abundance of ladybirds and those with asthma can see their condition worsen.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ladybug Beetles
How do you prevent ladybug infestations?
Ladybird beetles become a nuisance in the fall when they are looking for shelter and in the spring when they leave. If ladybird beetles are trying to move into your home, there may be thousands of them resting on the sides of your house, landing on your body and getting into food and drinks. Also, on warm winter days the ladybird beetles may become active and slip into your living space. You may see them flying around and landing on windows.
The best way to handle a ladybird beetle invasion is to prevent it from happening in the first place. These beetles can get through cracks as small as 1⁄8-inch, so seal any gaps around window frames, doors and where pipes enter the wall. Make sure there is proper insect screening in windows and doors. Install door sweeps on all entry doors. Once inside the home ladybird beetles are usually removed with a high-powered vacuum.
Benefits of Professional LadybugBeetle Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address an ladybird beetle problem. Finding and treating the ladybird beetles can be challenging, especially if they are spread throughout your yard. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the ladybird beetle infestation.