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Lady Bug Picture

 
 
 
The "ladybug" as we call it is actually an Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis), also known as the Multicolored Asian lady beetle, Harlequin lady beetle (because of the species' tendency to vary in color from orange to yellow to even black), and Halloween lady beetle (because it invades homes in October in preparation for hibernation). The lady bug was possibly established as the result of introductions into the United States in an attempt to control the spread of aphids. Whatever the source, in the last two decades, this insect has spread throughout the United States and Canada and has been a prominent factor in controlling aphid populations. However, many people now view this species as a nuisance, partly due to their tendency to overwinter indoors and the unpleasant odor and stain left by their bodily fluid when frightened or squashed..
Ladybugs have the ability to squeeze through the smallest of openings, even through a closed window. Although some consumers have reported positively on the effectiveness of spraying with home insecticides, many beleive the only way to fully prevent a home invasion of lady bugs is to tape the windows shut so they cannot get through the cracks. Others suggest tolerating the insects as long as the invasion is relatively mild or using a vacuum cleaner to remove the pests with less mess.
 
 
Facts About Lady Bugs

The ladybug was established as the result of introductions into the United States of beetles in an attempt to control the spread of aphids. Whatever the source, in the last two decades, this insect has spread throughout the United States and Canada and has been a prominent factor in controlling aphid populations. However, many people now view this species as a nuisance, partly due to their tendency to overwinter indoors and the unpleasant odor and stain left by their bodily fluid when frightened or squashed. It is also currently increasing in Europe to the detriment of indigenous species, due to its voracious appetite which enables them to out-compete and even eat other lady beetles, as it also does in the United States. The ladybug has also shown to be a minor pest of tender fruits and grapes in Iowa, Ohio, New York, and Ontario, and native ladybug species have experienced often dramatic declines in abundance in areas invaded by H. axyridis. Despite the troubles the Asian lady beetle causes, many farmers still view the bug as a beneficial insect. It is reported that the beetle has heavily fed on soybean aphids (which recently appeared in the U.S. after coming from China), supposedly saving farmers vast sums of money in 2001.

In the U.S., the first attempts to introduce the beetle took place as far back as 1916. Repeated efforts were not successful. In the early 1980s, aphids were causing significant problems for growers of pecan trees, so the United States Department of Agriculture again attempted to bring the insect into the country-this time in the southeastern United States, using beetles brought from their native region in northeastern Asia. After a period of time, USDA scientists concluded that their attempts had been unsuccessful. However, a population of beetles was observed near New Orleans, Louisiana around 1988, though this may have been an accidental introduction event independent of the original, planned efforts. In the following years, the beetle quickly spread to other states, being occasionally observed in the Midwest within about 5�7 years, and becoming common in the region by about 2000. The species was also established in the northwest by 1991, and the northeast by 1994, in the former case quite possibly involving additional introductions, rather than reaching there from the southeast.

Asian lady beetles hibernate in cooler months, though they will wake up and move around whenever the temperature reaches about 50�F (10�C). Because the beetles will use crevices and other cool, dry, confined spaces to hibernate, significant numbers may congregate inside walls if given a large enough opening. They often congregate in sunlit areas because of the heat available, so even on fairly cold winter days, some of the hibernating beetles will "wake up" because of solar heating. These large populations can be problematic because they can form swarms and linger in an area for a long time. Also, the bugs do not understand that glass cannot be penetrated by their small bodies, so many of the bugs will repeatedly crash into window panes.

The Asian lady beetle, like other lady beetles, uses isopropyl methoxy pyrazine as a defensive chemical to deter predation, but also contains this chemical in its hemolymph at much higher concentrations than many other lady beetle species. These insects will "reflex bleed" when agitated, releasing hemolymph from their legs. The liquid has a foul odor (similar to that of dead leaves) and can cause stains. It is believed that some people have allergic reactions when repeatedly exposed to lady beetles (especially dead ones). Sometimes, the beetles will bite humans, presumably in an attempt to acquire salt, although many people feel a pricking sensation as a lady beetle walks across the skin. Bites normally do no more harm than cause irritation although a small number of people are allergic to bites.

These beetles can sometimes be difficult to identify because of the variations in color, spot size, and spot count of the elytra. The easiest way to identify an Asian lady beetle is to look at the pronotum and see if the black markings look like a letter "W" or "M" (depending on if the marking is viewed from the front or the back). There is more white on the pronotum in this species than in most native North American species.
 

Tips for controlling Ladybugs

One ladybug is a curiosity. Four ladybugs are beneficial insects. But hundreds of ladybugs are a downright nuisance! They march across the dining room table, they crawl up the living room drapes. They make a crackly mess when stepped on by accident.

The best way to deal with ladybugs is to sweep them out of your house and wash them from your exterior walls. Since they do a marvelous job controlling pests that harm our landscape plants it seems a shame to kill them.

Use caulk indoors to seal any interior wall openings (electric outlets, heat vent grills, baseboard moldings). Climb a ladder to seal the cracks above indoor window and door trim. Ladybugs can�t crawl through solid walls - the openings they find are also exits for your precious heated and cooled air.

You can also use a hand vacuum to capture the intruders. Place a swatch of pantyhose across the nozzle so you can take them outdoors for release unharmed.

 


 

 
The Following Products can be used in the control of Ladybugs.




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