By Daniel Hill, Service Supervisor
Aka harlequin, multicolored Asian, or Asian ladybeetle. Let’s go with that.
It’s time to shed some light on the bugs you’ve seen flying all over the place in and out of your home. I’d also like to be the factual authority on all the rumors about them, as well as offer advice. But first things first, Lady Bugs and Asian ladybeetles are two different things! According to their biological classification, neither are actually bugs, they’re beetles. For that reason you may hear them referred to as ladybird beetles. The one you’ve been seeing is a similar species native to Asia that has been gaining a reputation faster than their population. The difference in the Asian Ladybeetle and the Lady Bug is in the color, while some can be red, most have an orange color. The biggest difference can be seen in the markings on the head, does it look like a tiny black ‘M’? It’s an Asian lady beetle.
Let’s go over the big news story that went viral where about 30-40 were in a dogs mouth and everyone was worried. Long story short: When this insect is stressed, it secretes a small amount of stinky fluid. The dog ate a bunch, the bugs got stressed, and it caused them to stick in the dog’s mouth. Vets now say just to remove the bugs with your finger (with a glove if that grosses you out!). This wasn’t ever going to harm the puppy, even if he ate them!
There are a few important points you should know that will dispel a lot of the rumors. So let’s get the facts straight!
– They aren’t structure or fabric damaging insects.
– They can’t multiply or lay eggs in your home. They lay eggs on the underside of leaves. They can’t sustain life inside your home. They aren’t looking to mate right now, but I’ll get into that further down.
– They aren’t a protected species so we are okay to treat them.
-They do not transmit diseases but they’ve recently been found to cause allergies and trigger asthma in large numbers as they secrete that yellowish liquid. You also can’t get pink eye from them!
–They have been reported to bite when agitated. I have 5 I caught for this article and I couldn’t get any of them to bite me even after I got them to secrete the stinky fluid. I even applied pressure to my skin and they just wouldn’t bite. This doesn’t mean they won’t bite anyone, they probably just know I’m a bug guy!
– In the spring and summer, these bugs are developing from one life cycle to the next by eating other bugs. They are generally labeled as beneficial insects because they feed on the bugs that damage your plants. In the fall they leave their homes in the trees, wooded areas, etc, and become a nuisance by entering your home by the hundreds to hibernate. Your house is warm so they try to get it, first by congregating on an exterior wall or other surface. In Feb-March they will emerge again to go back into the wild.
– Basically they come in because they’re confused. The best defense is to caulk up the windows and seal any place you think they could fit. Once they’re inside the best remedy is to vacuum them. Having us do an application inside will help. By the time you’re seeing them inside it won’t reduce them to zero but it will accelerate the process.
– They have strong pheromones (aka bug perfume) that will tell their colony and the generation next year that anywhere they’ve been is a safe place to go. It’s best to get a preventative service done nearing the fall if your home is prone to infestations. The bugs must hit the wall first for it to be effective so you may still see a few inside. Pressure washing rarely works because the pheromone is within your walls and it’s highly detectable.