Asian Lady Beetles can be a big nuisance because they like to invade homes during the winter. In this article, we look at some ways to get rid of them.
The Asian lady beetle, also known as the multicolored Asian lady beetle or Halloween bug, is native to Eastern Asia.
It was introduced in North America via the US Department of Agriculture as a natural pest control mechanism to get rid of aphid infestations.
Even though they are beneficial insects, lately, Asian lady beetle populations have overtaken native beetle species like Coccinellidae at an alarming rate.
Moreover, they have started to infest homes, causing a nuisance. It’s important for people to learn how to get rid of Asian lady beetles. In this article, we shall discuss the same.
Why Are Asian Lady Beetles Harmful?
ALBs were originally beneficial insects that help us eliminate various agricultural pests, especially aphids.
But recently, the explosion in their population has become a cause for concern because they can be naughty house invaders who enter homes and cause a nuisance.
Below, lets see why this once boon for gardeners is slowly becoming a bane.
Outcompeting The Native Lady Beetles
ALBs have been around for a while, but in recent years, their population has outpaced that of native ladybugs (Coccinellidae). They are quick and efficient at using resources in their vicinity.
Even though native species are hardy, it is still necessary to pay attention and control the Asian beetle from out-competing them.
Some of the key native ladybug species are Coccinella transversoguttata, Adalia bipunctata, and Coccinella novemnotata.
Their existence is slowly coming under threat because ALBs are eating up most soft-bodied insects, leaving them with little to feed on.
One more problem is that it is hard to distinguish between Asian and native lady beetles. Both are reddish and orangish with black spots on them.
A key distinguishing feature is the presence of an M-shaped mark on the back of an Asian lady beetle’s head. Moreover, they have a higher number of black spots than other species.
They Enter Homes in The Winter and Cause Damage
Asian lady beetles are not interested in entering homes in the summer. However, they may enter your house to keep themselves warm during winter.
If they are in your garden, they can fly or crawl into the house through wall voids, cracks around window frames, and other small crevices in the structure of your home.
Asian beetles do not intentionally damage houses, landscapes, or gardens. However, when they are frightened, they might secrete a yellowish acidic liquid with an unpleasant odor. This fluid can easily stain your doors, furniture, clothes, bedding, and other items.
They Can Bite
Asian lady beetles are capable of biting human skin. This is a big problem, especially if you have children or pets at home.
Their bites can break the skin, causing discomfort for a few hours. Some people may also exhibit an allergic reaction to the bites, so it is best to seek medical help if you see symptoms such as headache, nausea, or palpitations after a bite.
How To Repel Asian Lady Beetles?
If you already have these bugs in your house, it might not be such a great idea to use insecticidal sprays to kill them. Below we talk about a few natural ways to get rid of them.
The easiest way to eliminate these bugs is to use a vacuum and suck them in.
It is best to use a shop vac rather than an indoor vacuum cleaner. With a shop vac, you can easily seal the bugs in a vacuum bag and then discard them at a place far away from your home.
Since Asian beetles secrete that sticky yellow liquid when they are attacked, you don’t want to give them much of a chance before sucking them in. With a regular vacuum, you might end up with lots of stains all over your home.
Thus, the best option is to get rid of them with a shop vac and dispose of the bag immediately.
If you still want to use a bagless vacuum cleaner, stick a nylon stocking on the hose with a rubber band after you are done sucking them in. Afterward, simply remove and discard the bugs.
Like many other insects, Asian lady beetles are also attracted to light. You can use this knowledge to trap them and then discard them.
You can buy light traps from the market or make them home with some basic materials, including clamp lights, a gallon jug, and black spray paint.
Light traps work best to eliminate Asian beetles from dark and enclosed spaces, such as attics and the basement.
When setting up a light trap for bugs, ensure that its light is the only light in the room so that the beetles come towards it and are easily captured.
Also, always clean the trap after catching a handful of beetles.
While we do not suggest using insecticides inside the home, if you have a big infestation, there may be no other choice.
Deltamethrin and bifenthrin-based insecticides might work best on Asian lady beetles.
The good thing about using them is that they can kill several other bugs at one time, including flies, cockroaches, ants, and other pests.
However, make sure that you leave the home completely closed for at least a day after spraying them. Spray the insecticide on cracks in windows, wall voids, and crevices in doors, furniture, storage areas, and attics.
These bugs do not reproduce indoors, so you won’t have to contend with their eggs hatching later once you have done the treatment.
How To Prevent Them From Coming Inside Homes?
The best way to get rid of Asian lady beetles is to make sure they never enter your home in the first place. Here are a few ideas to deter them from entering.
Check the inside and outside of your house for cracks or crevices regularly. These bugs can easily enter closed spaces through these holes.
Look for even the tiniest of crevices because these wily beetles can enter holes even ⅛-inch in size. If you find any cracks or crevices, make sure to finish the repairs by the end of September.
Seal cracks and spaces around the doors and windows, areas near cable wires, pipes, faucets, damaged roofs, soffit or dry vents, etc.
Use elastomeric latex, silicone, or acrylic materials to seal the cracks, especially where materials like brick and wood meet, such as door outlines.
Install door sweeps or rubber seals on the threshold of entry doors to stop the bugs from entering your home.
If you find one or two of these beetles in the home, use soapy water on them to kill them instantly. You can also use a mixture of vinegar and water.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Eats Asian Lady Beetles?
Dragonflies, ants, cellar spiders, parasitic wasps, robber flies, assassin bugs, and praying mantes are some insects that eat Asian lady beetles.
Some birds, such as magpies, swifts, crows, and peewees, can also make Asian lady beetles their lunch.
How do I get rid of Asian beetles permanently?
Seal the cracks, gaps, and crevices around the doors and windows, to prevent them from entering.
Moreover, spray insecticides in enclosed areas and around the perimeter of the house, and make sure to keep lights off during the night, so that these bugs are not attracted to your home.
What smell do ladybugs hate?
Ladybugs usually hate the smell of citrus fruits and plants. Use citrus candles or neem and orange oil in your house to get rid of them.
Ladybugs also avoid the smell of bay leaves, cloves, camphor, and peppermint. You can place these in various places in your home to avoid them.
What causes an infestation of ladybugs?
Ladybugs hibernate during winter, so they look for a safe place to hide, and this is when they start to infest homes.
They also look for warmth in winter and often fly inside homes to seek the same. They are also attracted to bright colors, so they enter houses colored white, yellow, or beige.
Once introduced as a biological control for pests, the Asian lady beetle is rapidly becoming a pest itself. Swarms of these bugs try to invade homes during the winter and can be found looking fo the smallest crevice to make their entry.
We hope the methods we described in this article will help you to get rid of them from your home. Thank you for reading!
Asian Lady Beetles are a huge menace, and you can read some of the emails from our readers below to understand why!
Letter 1 – Mating Multicolored Asian Ladybird Beetles stalked by Ambush Bug!!
I was taking pictures of the mating ladybugs and did not notice the strange bug until I downloaded the pictures. What is it? Located in Dallas, Georgia.
Nice to hear from you again. We believe your Ladybird Beetles are Multicolored Asian Ladybird Beetles, Harmonia axyridis, which are highly variable in coloration. They are being stalked by an Ambush Bug. The Ambush Bug might soon have a meal. We are cross referencing your photo on several of our pages, including Bug Love and Food Chain.
Letter 2 – Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles invade homes
Not a lady bug October 28, 2009 We have a bug SWARMING our house in Stillwater NJ. It kind of looks like a lady bug. They get through the smallest openings and there are thousands outside and hundreds getting inside. We have heard that they are everywhere in this area now (late October). Can you tell me what they are and how to keep them out of the house? KayJayW Northwest NJ Dear KayJayW, These are Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles, Harmonia axyridis, an invasive introduced species that often invades homes in multitudes to escape the cold weather. It is a beneficial species in its own environment in its native Asia, but as an introduced species, it has many problematic characteristics. If it was possible to overlook the home invasion, the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles are considered largely responsible for the decline in numbers of native species of Lady Beetles, so they invasive species has a negative impact on the environment because of the loss of native diversity. You should be able to find plenty of information on this species online now that you know its name. Try the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet among others.
Letter 3 – Multicolored Asian Ladybird Beetles
Midwest beetle?? March 14, 2010 Can you identify this? I live near Chicago. I’m noticing these in the winter season, near one of our windows, but inside. There must be 50 of them lying on the window paine or carpet. They seem to dead, some w/ their “wings” sprouted and others as you see in the pic. I’d like to know how I can prevent these from being in my house. Thanks in advance Vik Midwest – Chicago suburbs Hi Vik, Now that you know that these are Multicolored Asian Ladybird Beetles, and introduced species that often seeks shelter indoors to hibernate, you should be able to locate copious information online.
Letter 4 – Asian Lady Beetles enter home
Subject: Asian Lady Beetles Location: West central Indiana October 29, 2013 7:24 pm Yesterday, October 28th, 2013, in west central Indiana, my home was overtaken, inside and out, by Asian Lady Beetles. This is an old house, and my grandparents lived here long before I did, and they had problems with the ALBs. Now, I’m living here, and I’m having the same problem. Last year wasn’t bad at all. We only had a few that got inside, which was really surprising, since we’ve had hundreds of them find their way inside each Fall. Well, yesterday we had hundreds of them, again. I just would like to know if there is anything we can do to attract them to somewhere in the yard, as I know you’re not into killing the bugs. I know they’re beneficial to crops, but once they come inside, they’re not so helpful! They stink to high heaven. They pinch/scratch with their little legs, when they try to get a foothold on our skin. I have been vacuuming them up, when they amass on the walls, and ceiling. I can’t open the door to let them out, because there are thousands of them outside, and they’re trying to get inside! They will stay active, and swarming, until we get a killing frost, or a serious freeze. The ones that we don’t catch that are already inside, will stay active, until we catch them, and dispose of them. Is there anything I can do to deter these things?! I’m at my wits end with them! Signature: Gina Hi Gina, We have no suggestions to your problem, but perhaps one of our readers will provide a comment to assist you.
Letter 5 – Suspected Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle Invasion in East Texas
Subject: Lady bug invasion? Location: East Texas woods January 31, 2017 10:30 am For a couple of months we have been assaulted by literally MILLIONS of little beetles that resemble lady bugs. They are literally everywhere…outside and inside! These come in a range of colors from deep red through mustard yellow. Some have black spots, some don’t. We live in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Any thoughts? Thank you!!! (Sorry the photo is a bit blurred.) Signature: Overwhelmed Dear Overwhelmed, Though your image is quite blurry, we suspect you have encountered the introduced Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles that are known to hibernate indoors in great numbers. See BugGuide for examples of the color and pattern diversity exhibited by the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles, Harmonia axyridis. Our Better Nature has an interesting article on invasions of Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles. Dear Daniel — Bull’s Eye!!! That’s definitely what we’re dealing with! I so appreciate your help. I’m engaging in the process of searching out and caulking every miniscule seam, crack or nail hole in my siding, though I expect it will not fully resolve this issue. I share the concern expressed in response to another inquiry re: the attack on our native lady beetles and the resultant decrease in genetic diversity. Let’s hear it for introduced species! (A bit of sarcasm there). At any rate, thanks so much for your response! Overwhelmed
Letter 6 – Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle on Woody Plant
Subject: Lady Bug on my Woody Plant Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California July 27, 2017 8:58 AM Last week I found this Lady Bug on my woody plant. Can you identify it? Signature: Constant Gardener Dear Constant Gardener, The white markings on the head and pronotum of this Lady Beetle identify if at a Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, which you can verify by comparing your image to this head-on image on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “The adult is highly variable in color and pattern. The base pattern of the species is red to red-orange with 18 spots. These spots may be exaggerated, or eliminated, on an individual basis. The common red form, succinea is dominant in most areas. Melanic forms conspicua (two red markings) and spectabilis (four red markings) are less common, and only starting to establish in the country. Rarely, other forms may appear. Any pattern involving red-orange and black may potentially occur in this species! Although variable, the combination of large size and specific pattern details generally allow easy identification. Darker forms are most commonly mistaken for other dark species. In these cases, look at the white pattern on the head and pronotum (per. J. Bailey).” The Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle is an invasive, exotic species that is competing with and beating native species, leading to decreased sightings of native species of Lady Beetles. For this reason, we must tag this posting as Invasive Exotics. Your “woody plant” looks quite healthy, and though it is an exotic species, this Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle should help keep your plant pest free.