How to Deal with Ladybug Infestation
By: Julie Day
The occasional ladybug is nothing to worry about.
I am having a serious problem with ladybugs inside my log cabin. Do you have any ideas for ridding my new home of these beautiful but pesky insects? -Susan
Most complaints of ladybug infestations are caused by the Asian lady beetle, which was introduced into many regions of the U.S. as a natural control for soft-bodied, crop-destroying insects. These beetles would normally hibernate for the winter inside of caves and rocky crevices. However, in developed areas they have the pesky tendency to overwinter inside our homes!
Some fast facts about lady beetles:
- They aren’t known to carry disease, and reports of bites are rare.
- They don’t damage structures, and they don’t usually lay eggs indoors.
- Ladybugs love to dine on aphids, which makes them very beneficial in the garden.
- They seem drawn to homes with natural wood siding, homes in wooded areas, light-colored homes warmed by sunlight, and older homes with lots of cracks and crevices.
- Ladybugs leave behind trails of pheromones, which attract them to the same sites year after year.
Most homeowners don’t mind a ladybug or two – they’re pretty, and also pretty harmless. For those with significant beetle populations, the battle against ladybug infestation is a yearly chore that doesn’t have a satisfying solution.
Because they are so beneficial in the garden, it is generally not recommended to kill them in large numbers, yet the indoor infestations can be pretty overwhelming.
Prevention is the best strategy, along with regular removal of current invaders.
Tips for dealing with a ladybug infestation:
- Once ladybugs are in, it’s hard to get them out. Vacuum them up regularly, and either dispose of them or release them back outside. Unlike other household pests, ladybugs come indoors to hibernate, not to multiply and invade. For this reason, many homeowners simply increase their vacuuming during ladybug season and otherwise don’t worry about them.
- Place a knee-high stocking inside the tip of your vacuum-cleaner wand, and secure it to the rim with tape or rubber bands. As you vacuum, the ladybugs will be caught in the stocking. Don’t leave them in your vacuum-cleaner bag; they’ll crawl right back out!
- Try a Lady Bug Light Trap to attract and capture large numbers of ladybugs for release outdoors.
- Seal all cracks and openings around doors, windows, outlets, eaves, pipes, and any place an insect might enter. Don’t underestimate their ability to squeeze in! Use foaming sealants to close up drafty crevices, and apply weather stripping to older doors. This will lower your heating bill, too.
- Don’t try to sweep or otherwise agitate them; when stressed, ladybugs release a yellow, smelly substance that can cause stains.
- In the spring, the beetles will return to the outdoors. Before they return in the fall, you can apply a residual insecticide around the exterior, doors, and windows of your home, to keep them from returning.
- Asian Lady Beetle (USDA.gov)
- Asian Lady Beetles (Epestsupply.com)
- How to Get Rid of Ladybugs (Doyourownpestcontrol.com)