asian lady beetles on the wall

There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about ladybugs, not the least of which is identification of these bugs. First of all, while they are technically bugs, they are more accurately called insects. Ladybugs have six legs and three body parts—two important characteristics insects share. When compared to proper bugs, like spiders, which have six legs and two body parts or centipedes which have 15 or more body segments with two legs per segment, you can begin to see the distinction. Second, what looks like a ladybug isn't always a ladybug. Often, the Asian lady beetle is mistaken for a ladybug. It is understandable. They are close cousins that share many visual traits. But the ladybug is native to the United States. Asian lady beetles are not. And this is not where the differences end. Asian lady beetles are far more frustrating to deal with.

Asian lady beetles, also referred to as Harlequin ladybirds or Halloween beetles, are an invasive species that has taken over territory so much, it is hard to find native North American ladybugs in large numbers. There a few reasons for this. The most important is that ladybugs die when they accidentally feed on the eggs or larvae of Asian lady beetles.

Ladybugs are beneficial insects. When they get into your garden or your landscaping, they feed on plant-damaging insects. This beneficial behavior is what led the Department of Agriculture to bring Asian lady beetles to American. All species of lady beetle help with controlling crop pests and reducing the need for insecticides. The USDA took note that the Asian lady beetle was a strong and plentiful insect. So it was thought that they would do a better job than our indigenous ladybug species. No one could have foreseen how well they would do. Their populations have exploded. While this is certainly good for crop producers in the United States, it is decidedly bad for homeowners. 

Overwintering

In the fall, ladybugs and Asian lady beetles look for places to hide from the dropping temperatures. They leave the crop fields and begin to congregate on the sunny sides of Knoxville homes and businesses. When temperatures get too cold, they begin to hide under the siding or enter through tiny gaps, holes, and cracks.

Lady Beetle Prevention

Whether you have ladybugs or Asian lady beetles visiting this fall, there are a few things you can do to keep them out of your home.

  • Inspect your doors. These insects can get in through damaged or missing door sweeps, gaps in weatherstripping, holes created by wood-damaging pests, and damaged seals around your door frames.
  • Inspect your windows. Check to make sure all of your screens are in good working order. Use a caulking gun to fill holes in your frames or to seal gaps around the outside edge of your window frames.
  • Inspect pipes and wire conduit that pass through your foundation wall. If you have gaps, seal them.
  • Inspect your foundation wall and seal any cracked concrete. If you have a brick home, repair any chipped mortar.
  • Inspect your roofline and the seals around roof penetrations. Lady beetles can get into homes through entry points both low and high.

There aren't many ladybug prevention tips because these insects can come into your yard for no other reason than because they happen upon it. The best you can do is seal your exterior walls and foundation and attempt to keep them out. If you want to get real control of these pests, you need to have your exterior treated with a pest control product. This is best done by a licensed professional. A profession will apply EPA-approved products to appropriate areas in the correct amounts. This is where the team at Russell's Pest Control can help. We provide industry-leading residential and commercial pest control services in the Knoxville area. Connect with us today to establish service for your Knoxville home or business. Our team of licensed and experienced professionals is standing by to help you get control of ladybugs, Asian lady beetles, and other overwintering pests. 

 

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