One cute insect: A popular symbol of springtime is the speckled, miniature dome of a ladybug as it strolls along a plant stem looking for its next meal. They are also found in nursery rhymes and folklore around the world. Of all the creepy crawlies, ladybugs are the most beloved and respected of insects.
Lady “bugs” are a group of beetles that are also known as ladybird beetles or lady beetles. In fact, the name ladybug is a slang term for the more correct name, lady beetle. They are harmless to humans and are often considered cute by people who don’t like other insects. Some people think ladybugs are a sign of good luck.
Ladybugs are small and usually quite round in shape. The color on the wing covers (elytra) can be yellow, orange, or red and often has small black dots on it. Some species are solid black. Ladybugs also have black legs, head, and antennae.
Like other insects, the ladybug has an exoskeleton made of a protein like the one that forms our hair and fingernails. Its body has three parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. Each of the three body parts has a different function.
The head houses the ladybug’s mouthparts, compound eyes, and antennae. The thorax has three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings. The first pair of wings is the hardened elytra that protect the flight wings underneath. When the ladybug takes flight, the elytra open, and the thin, veined wings unfold. The abdomen contains organs for digestion, respiration, and reproduction. Adult ladybugs breathe air, but the air enters the body through openings, called spiracles, found on the sides of the abdomen and thorax.
Ladybugs gather together in large groups to diapause (the insect term for hibernation). This helps them conserve resources and brings males and females together for reproductive purposes. Some ladybugs gather in logs, buildings, ground cover, beneath snow drifts, and even in houses! Millions gather in the southwestern United States, where they cover the ground like a blanket of red and black.
Ladybugs can survive for up to nine months by living off their stored reserves. They break out of diapause when the temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). This is usually when food becomes available again.
Many ladybugs have bright colors to advertise to predators that they are not worth the effort! If disturbed, they can release a foul-smelling chemical from their “knees” to keep enemies away. Predators learn that color combinations of bright oranges, reds, and blacks can mean an unappetizing taste, and they avoid eating the ladybugs. This works so well that even ladybugs that are not distasteful mimic the colors of the poisonous ones.
Worldwide, ladybugs are seen as omens of good luck. In England, finding a ladybug means there will be a good harvest. In Sweden, if a ladybug lands on a young girl’s hand, she will soon be getting married. Ladybugs are the official state insect of Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Tennessee. How interesting that such a tiny insect can make such a vast difference in the world!
- BlogWhat’s the Difference Between Ladybugs and Asian Lady Beetles?
- Why the difference matters
- How you can tell them apart
- What You Can Do About Asian Lady Beetles
- What are Harlequin ladybirds and what do they look like?
- Where do Harlequin ladybirds come from and do they have STDs?
Asian Lady Beetle Infestation of Structures
- WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?
- DESCRIPTION AND HABITS
- INFESTATION OF BUILDINGS
- IMPACT ON HUMANS
- LADY BEETLE MANAGEMENT
- Sealing Entry Points
- Other Approaches
- Ladybug Infestation
- Ladybugs are Everywhere!
- Acquisition Edit
- Walkthrough Edit
- Rewards Edit
- Ladybird colors reveal their toxicity
- Invasion of the black ladybirds hits UK: Everything you need to know about STD-carrying Harlequin bugs
- Scientific name: Adalia bipunctata
- Identification features
- Think you’ve seen one?
- Where have they been seen?
- Need help with identification?
- Harlequin ladybird
BlogWhat’s the Difference Between Ladybugs and Asian Lady Beetles?
You know what ladybugs look like, and you’re probably already somewhat familiar with the infamous Asian lady beetle. The pest seems to disguise itself as a harmless ladybug in order to infiltrate our gardens and homes. Asian lady beetles are like the dastardly spies of the insect world, especially in fall and spring. What you may not know, however, is that the disguise isn’t perfect. It’s not always easy, but distinguishing between Asian lady beetles and ladybugs is always possible. By figuring out which bug is which, you’ll be able to drive out the bad and leave the good be. Here’s how to tell if the bug you’re looking at is an imposter, and what to do about it.
Why the difference matters
Although Ladybugs and Asian lady beetles look similar and belong to the same insect family, they don’t behave similarly. Ladybugs are considered highly beneficial, harmless insects. They don’t bite, they consume several harmful garden pests such as aphids, and they never congregate in large numbers. Most importantly, when it gets cold out they seek shelter outdoors. Asian lady beetles hunt garden pests, too, but that’s where the similarities end. Asian lady beetles are considered a true pest. Unlike ladybugs, Asian lady beetles will gather in large groups, especially around warm, reflective surfaces like windows. Asian lady beetles “bite” by scraping the skin they land on, and leave a yellow, foul-smelling liquid on surfaces where they gather. Worst of all, Asian lady beetles will attempt to enter your home when they look for overwintering shelters. Basically, think of Asian lady beetles as ladybugs’ evil twins. Telling them apart is important because even if you’re cool with ladybugs, you don’t want Asian lady beetles hanging around.
How you can tell them apart
Ladybugs and Asian lady beetles definitely look similar. If you look closely, however, you’ll be able to spot a few key differences. First of all, Asian lady beetles are slightly larger than Ladybugs. While all ladybugs are bright red with black spots, Asian lady beetles’ coloration can vary from red to orange. Lady beetles may or may not have black spots on their cerci (wing covers). Lady bugs have a round, oval shape, while Asian lady beetles tend to be a little longer. The easiest way to tell Asian lady beetles apart from ladybugs at a glance is to look for the white “M” (see above). Asian lady beetles have a distinctive, highly-visible “M-shaped” black marking on their otherwise-white heads. This marking varies in size, thickness, and overall shape, but it’s always there. Ladybugs’ heads are mostly black with small white markings. Ladybug’s white markings are confined to the sides of the head and may resemble “cheeks.” In general, ladybugs’ heads or “snouts” also appear shorter and less pointed than Asian lady beetles’.
First and foremost, ladybugs don’t sneak into your home the way Asian lady beetles do. While ladybugs overwinter in sheltered sites outdoors, Asian lady beetles often wind up entering homes. If you notice the bugs congregating in or around your home in fall or winter, they’re probably Asian lady beetles. Look for them around siding, roof shingles, attics, door and window frames, and other dark, undisturbed areas. Asian lady beetles may also enter homes and buildings in spring. The other obvious way to identify an Asian lady beetle is to look for their “reflex bleeding.” When Asian lady beetles feel threatened, they may excrete a foul-smelling, yellow liquid from their leg joints. This excretion is called “reflex bleeding,” and it can also happen when the beetles are crushed. The yellow excretion isn’t dangerous, but it can stain walls and fabrics or trigger minor allergic reactions. These excretions are particularly noticeable when Asian lady beetles congregate around warm surfaces or access points.
What You Can Do About Asian Lady Beetles
Asian lady beetles are naturally attracted to bright colors like whites, greys, and yellows. They also tend to congregate in places that get lots of sun exposure. Therefore, you should look for your Asian lady beetles on sun-exposed, brightly-colored surfaces. When Asian lady beetles enter homes, it’s usually by accident. They congregate on window frames or wall spaces and end up wandering in through cracks. If you can find and seal these cracks, you can keep the beetles out. Once inside, Asian lady beetles tend to congregate in dark, secluded places to keep warm. You might find them in attics, closets, crawl spaces, or storage areas. They’re particularly prone to hiding behind frames and siding. Don’t crush any beetles you find. Instead, vacuum them up and dispose of the bag when you’re finished. You should also scrub down the surfaces Asian lady beetles congregate on with soapy water. Asian lady beetles aren’t a dangerous pest, but they are a nuisance. You shouldn’t have to put up with these opportunistic stinkers just because you’re afraid to bother ladybugs. By learning how to tell Asian lady beetles and ladybugs apart, you won’t have to. Need some help clearing out an Asian lady beetle infestation? Want to make sure you don’t get one in the first place? Just give Plunkett’s Pest Control a call right away. We’ll send those imposters packing, every time.
CHANCES are you’ve noticed or heard of Harlequin ladybirds.
The black-winged bugs swarm to British shores in the autumn months and you may have heard tales of STDs. Here’s the lowdown…
2 Harlequins found in the UK are typically black with two or four orange or red spots – or orange with 15 to 21 black spotsCredit: Getty – Contributor
What are Harlequin ladybirds and what do they look like?
Harlequin ladybirds, scientific name Harmonia axyridis, are ladybirds that are not native to Britain and are sometimes called the “Halloween ladybird” because of the time of the year they flock to the UK.
They Harlequins can be very variable in appearance, but generally you can tell them apart from our native ladybirds either through their colouring or their number of spots.
Harlequins found in the UK are typically black with two or four orange or red spots – or orange with 15 to 21 black spots.
Scientists have dubbed the bug as “Britain’s most invasive species” – as it preys on seven native ladybirds including the common two-spot. The ladybirds aren’t poisonous to humans or pets.
2 Scientists have dubbed the bug as Britain’s most invasive speciesCredit: Getty – Contributor
Where do Harlequin ladybirds come from and do they have STDs?
Harlequin ladybirds fly over to Britain from Asia and North America during the autumn and the “alien” species are rumoured to pass on a “dangerous” STI to our native ladybirds.
The species has been in the UK since 2004, but the population has recently surged to become more noticeable.
Piers slams BBC over ‘nasty’ children’s Brexit song slating UK’s past Latest
Student is UK’s first coronavirus victim as uni moves to calm ‘anxiety’ Exclusive
Meghan ‘furious’ at ‘desperate’ Thomas Markle for dragging Doria into public row
Cops frantically search for missing teen girl, 18, who vanished from home
Mum, 33, vanishes with her baby & three kids aged 4, 12 and 13 in Reading
60mph winds before torrential rain and SNOW to hit Britain this weekend
The disease they carry is called Laboulbeniales which is a form of fungi that the bugs then pass on when they mate.
The exact effect of the disease isn’t exactly known, but it causes yellow finger-like growths and scientists say that it’s possible that the disease affects the lifespan or the number of eggs a female ladybird can produce over her lifespan.
The disease can be spread through close contact during mating – or passed on when the bugs huddle close together.
The disease can’t be passed on to humans and isn’t harmful to us
Swarm of ‘sex crazed’ bugs pelt woman’s house for three days
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.
Asian Lady Beetle Infestation of Structures
ENTFACT-416: Asian Lady Beetle Infestation of Structures | Download PDF
by Michael F. Potter, Ric Bessin, and Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologists
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
Large numbers of lady beetles (ladybugs) infesting homes and buildings in the United States were first reported in the early 1990s. Ladybugs normally are considered beneficial since they live outdoors and feed on plant pests.
Asian lady beetles vary in color. Note the whitish area with M-shaped marking behind the head.
One species of lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, can be a nuisance however, when they fly to buildings in search of overwintering sites and end up indoors. Once inside they crawl about on windows, walls, attics, etc., often emitting a noxious odor and yellowish staining fluid before dying.
In many areas of the U.S., these autumn invasions are such a nuisance that they affect quality of life.
WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?
The Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), is relatively new to this country. The beetle is native to Asia (e.g., China, Russia, Korea, Japan), where it dwells in trees and fields, preying on aphids and scale insects. The first field populations in the United States were found in Louisiana in 1988. Since then the beetle has expanded its range to include much of the U.S. and parts of Canada. Earliest records in Kentucky date back to a few specimens collected in Hickman County in 1992.
During the 1960s to 1990s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture attempted to establish the Asian lady beetle to control agricultural pests, especially of pecans and apples. Large numbers of the beetles were released in several states including Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. No such releases were ever attempted in Kentucky, and their occurrence here is probably due to northward migration from other southern states. Some scientists believe that current infestations in the U.S. originated not from these intentional releases, but from beetles accidentally transported into New Orleans on a freighter from Japan.
DESCRIPTION AND HABITS
Adult Asian lady beetles are oval, convex, and about 1/4-inch long. Their color can vary widely from tan to orange to red. They often have several black spots on the wing covers, although on some beetles the spots may be indistinct or entirely absent. Multi-spotted individuals tend to be females while those with few or no spots tend to be males. Most beetles have a small, dark “M” or “W”-shaped marking on the whitish area behind the head.
Eggs are yellow, oval, and typically are laid in clusters on the undersides of leaves. The immatures (larvae) are often orange and black and shaped somewhat like tiny alligators. Larvae complete their development on plants where their primary food (aphids) is abundant. The non-mobile cocoon (pupal) stage remains attached to vegetation by its molted skin, but occasionally may be found clinging to exterior walls of buildings. The average time from egg to adult is about one month and there are multiple generations per year. Individual beetles can live up to three years.
At present, Asian lady beetles appear to have few natural enemies. A small percentage of beetles are parasitized by tiny wasps and flies, while up to 80% are infected by a fungus in central Kentucky, which is only occasionally lethal. As a defense against predators, the beetles secrete a foul smelling yellowish fluid from their leg joints when disturbed. Some mortality occurs at sub-freezing temperatures, although survival is enhanced within buildings and other protected locations if adequate moisture or humidity is available.
In its native land, the Asian lady beetle is mainly tree-dwelling, living in forests and orchards. In Japan, it is also abundant in soybean fields. In the U.S., the beetles inhabit ornamental and agricultural crops, including roses, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and tobacco. During spring and summer, the larvae and adults feed mainly on aphids, consuming hundreds per day.
INFESTATION OF BUILDINGS
As autumn approaches, the adult beetles leave their summer feeding sites in yards, fields and forests for protected places to spend the winter. Unfortunately, homes and buildings are one such location. Swarms of lady beetles typically fly to buildings in September though November depending on locale and weather conditions. In Kentucky, most migration to buildings occurs in October. Beetle flights are heaviest on sunny days following a period of cooler weather, when temperatures return to at least the mid-60s. Consequently, most flight activity occurs in the afternoon and may vary in intensity from one day to the next.
Lady beetles are attracted to sides of buildings receiving afternoon sun.
Contrasting light-dark features are especially attractive.
Studies have shown that Asian lady beetles are attracted to illuminated surfaces. They tend to congregate on the sunnier, southwest sides of buildings illuminated by afternoon sun. Homes or buildings shaded from afternoon sun are less likely to attract beetles. House color or type of construction (concrete, brick, wood/vinyl siding) is less of a factor for attraction than surface contrast.
Contrasting light-dark features tend to attract the beetles — dark shutters on a light background, light shutters on a dark background, windows edged with light-colored trim, gutters and downspouts on contrasting siding, etc. Dwellings near woods or fields are especially prone to infestation, although those in other locations can be infested as well.
Asian Lady Beetle Congregation
Once the beetles alight on buildings, they seek out crevices and protected places to spend the winter. They often congregate in attics, wall cavities, and other protected locations.
Typical locations include cracks around window and doorframes, behind fascia boards and exterior siding, and within soffits, attics, and wall voids. Structures in poor repair with many cracks and openings are most vulnerable to infestation.
As temperatures warm in late winter/early spring, the beetles once again become active. This usually occurs first on the sunnier, southwest side of the building. As awakening beetles attempt to escape to the outdoors, some inadvertently wander inward, emerging from behind baseboards, walls, attics, suspended ceilings, etc. Since lady beetles are attracted to light, they are often seen around windows and light fixtures.
IMPACT ON HUMANS
Asian lady beetles generally do not injure humans and are mainly a nuisance. Unlike some household pests (e.g., fleas and cockroaches), they do not reproduce indoors — those appearing in late winter/early spring are the same individuals that entered the previous fall. Lady beetles do not attack wood, food or clothing. Nonetheless, some householders detest finding any insects indoors, and hygienic establishments such as hospitals have zero tolerance for contaminants of any kind.
Asian Lady Beetle Stain
Besides being a nuisance, the beetles emit an acrid odor and can stain surfaces with their yellowish secretions when disturbed (volatile compounds used in defense against bird and other vertebrate predators).
Although Asian lady beetles do not transmit diseases per se, recent studies suggest that infestations can cause allergies in some individuals, ranging from eye irritation to asthma.
People should avoid touching their eyes after handling the beetles, and should consult a physician if they suspect they are having an allergic reaction. When large numbers of beetles are flying in the fall, they often land on clothing and occasionally will bite or ‘pinch’ if in contact with skin. In nature, lady beetles eat other insects and have chewing mouthparts. The bite feels like a pinprick and is seldom serious.
Asian lady beetles are also becoming a concern of the wine industry. Due to their noxious odor, even small numbers of beetles inadvertently processed along with grapes can taint the flavor of wine.
LADY BEETLE MANAGEMENT
People’s reaction to lady beetles varies widely from tolerance to revulsion. The following management tips are provided when the beetles become a serious nuisance within a dwelling.
Once the beetles are indoors, the easiest way to remove them is with a vacuum cleaner. If you later wish to release the beetles outdoors, place a handkerchief between the vacuum hose and the dust collection bag to act as a trap. A broom can also be used, but is more likely to result in staining when beetles emit their yellowish defensive secretion.
Sealing Entry Points
Sealing Entry Points
Sealing cracks and openings is the most permanent way of preventing lady beetles from entering buildings. The time to do this is in late spring or summer, before the adults begin flying to buildings in search of overwintering sites. Cracks should be sealed around windows, doors, soffits, fascia boards, utility pipes and wires, etc. with caulk or other suitable sealant.
Larger holes can be plugged with cement, urethane foam or copper mesh. Repair damaged window screens and install screening behind attic vents, which are common entry points for the beetles. Install tight-fitting door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors. Gaps of 1/8″ or less will permit entry of lady beetles and other insects. Gaps under sliding glass doors can be sealed with foam weather stripping. These practices will also help prevent entry of flies, wasps, crickets, spiders and other pests. Some householders may find it more practical to hire a pest control firm, building contractor or painter to perform these services (For more on this topic see University of Kentucky entomology fact sheet, How to Pest-Proof Your Home).
Indoor Treatment – Insecticide foggers, “bug bombs” or sprays are generally not recommended for eliminating beetles indoors. Insecticides applied indoors for lady beetles tend to be ineffective and may stain or leave unwanted residues on walls, countertops and other surfaces. A vacuum is more sanitary and effective. Attempting to kill beetles hibernating in wall cavities and other protected locations is seldom effective. A better approach is to take preventive measures to reduce beetle entry in subsequent years.
Exterior Barrier Treatment – While sealing cracks and openings is a more permanent way to limit beetle entry, the approach is time-consuming and sometimes impractical. There can be countless cracks associated with eaves, siding, vents, etc. where insects can enter. On multi-story buildings, sealing becomes even more difficult.
Exterior Barrier Treatment
If lady beetles are a perennial problem, owners may want to hire a professional pest control firm. Many companies apply insecticides to building exteriors in the fall, which helps prevent pest entry. Fast-acting residual insecticides can be sprayed in a targeted band around windows, doors, eaves, soffits, attic vents, and other likely points of entry.
Some of the more effective insecticides used by professionals include Demand (lambda cyhalothrin), Suspend (deltamethrin), Talstar (bifenthrin) and Tempo (cyfluthrin). Effective over-the-counter versions of these products include Spectracide Triazicide, Bayer Advanced Powerforce Multi-Insect Killer, and Ortho Home Defense Max. Purchasing these products in concentrated (dilutable) form will allow larger volumes of material to be applied with a pump-up or hose-end sprayer.
To be effective, barrier treatments should be applied before the beetles enter buildings to overwinter. In Kentucky, the proper timing for such treatments is typically late-September to early October although this will vary with seasonal conditions. During late winter or early spring, barrier treatments are ineffective since the beetles gained entry the previous autumn.
Other approaches have been suggested to alleviate problems with Asian lady beetles. Ladybug “houses” sold in garden supply catalogs will have no effect in keeping the beetles out of your home. Light traps can be useful for capturing flies and lady beetles in dark confined spaces such as attics, but will capture relatively few beetles entering living spaces in the fall or emerging from hidden locations the following spring.
Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” or easy answer to annual lady beetle invasions. Vacuuming, pest proofing and properly timed exterior insecticide treatments can provide relief but will not prevent entry of every single beetle.
CAUTION! Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication.
Of course, ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS FOR SAFE USE OF ANY PESTICIDE!
Images: M. Potter, University of Kentucky Entomology.
Ladybugs are Everywhere!
Ladybug Infestation. They can infest your house in the winter
instead of finding a home outside.
Photo by Drobincorvette
Hippodamia convergent ladybugs congregate together in the fall to hibernate. These ladybugs can be found most often in the upper elevations of the Sierra Nevadas, Rocky, Appalachian, Blue Ridge Mountains and other mountainous areas throughout the United States and Canada.
This ladybug prefers to over winter around rock out croppings, under forest debris, in tall grassy areas and under tree bark.
‘Tis the season! Ladybugs are looking for a place to hibernate. They are attracted to light colored homes, usually older homes and they are attracted to heat that the homes reflect. Once ladybugs have penetrated the home though, they are hard to get rid of.
Ladybugs release pheromones, it is sort of like “perfume” to attract other ladybugs. They use pheromones as a means of communication during mating and hibernation. Insect pheromones are very powerful. They can be detected by others up to a 1/4 mile away. This helps ladybugs find each other and it lets future generations know of a good place to “camp out” for the winter. The pheromones don’t go away easily. The chemical “scent” can remain year after year, and not only on the outside of a structure, but also within the walls, where ladybugs tend to hide before emerging into your home. So, scrubbing pheromones off a house is a BIG task, if not impossible.
The yellow stuff you might see from time to time is their blood (hemolymph). It, too, contains pheromones and it stains. You can see the yellow blood when you hold a ladybug and it gets scared. This is a normal reaction to stressful situations called reflex bleeding. Releasing some of its blood is one way the ladybug can protect itself. The blood smells bad and signals to a predator that this ladybug is not a good lunch choice.
To prevent ladybugs from getting in, make sure all cracks around windows, doors, clap boards, pipes, ect. are sealed up. Some extermination companies offer this service, sometimes called inclusion. This, too, is no small project, and may cost a small fortune, but it’s worth it. Especially if you don’t like ladybugs joining you for dinner.
August 15, 2018 Carolina Pest
The word “ladybug” may sound innocent enough, but if you’ve ever had a ladybug infestation, you’re aware of the havoc these pretty, little critters can cause. Although some species of ladybugs are harmless and can help in your yard by devouring plant-eating insects, they are also capable of invading the inside of your home in droves.
Fast Facts About Ladybugs
Despite the differences between native ladybugs and Asian lady beetles, these bugs are often both called “ladybugs.” However, the two beetles are inherently different. Most importantly, ladybugs are beneficial while Asian lady beetles are aggressive pests and tend to invade homes in lieu of living outdoors. The following characteristics can help home-owners differentiate between a ladybug and an Asian lady beetle:
Color: Asian lady beetles are more likely to have a deep orange color while ladybugs tend to be bright red. Although both species have white markings on the head, an Asian lady beetle will have more white on the cheeks.
Size and shape: Asian lady beetles are typically larger than ladybugs and can grow to the length of 7 millimeters. Ladybugs will be smaller in length. Ladybugs have a rounded shape while Asian lady beetles are slightly elongated with an oval shape.
Distinct spot: An Asian lady beetle can usually be easily identified by a distinct white-colored “M” shape located directly behind the beetle’s head that native ladybugs will not have.
Asian lady beetles will get rid of garden pests like native ladybugs. However, Asian lady beetles are more aggressive and can bite if they land on you. They are also potentially poisonous to dogs. If a dog eats an Asian lady beetle, the chemicals released by the bug can cause chemical burns to the animal’s mouth and digestive tract. The ulcers formed by the burns may lead to issues with the dog’s appetite and the pet could refuse to eat until vet treatment.
Ladybugs are not known to carry diseases. However, if a large infestation is present, there is a chance for allergic reactions to occur. Symptoms can exhibit while beetles are nearby or occur when a ladybug is touched. Signs of an allergic reaction to ladybugs include:
- Red and itchy eyes
- Itchy skin
Seeing one or two ladybugs within your home may not be cause for concern. However, some homeowners have complained about the sheer number of ladybugs that have entered their property. In fact, there have been reports of upwards of 15,000 ladybugs swarming a single home. Ladybugs tend to congregate in the following areas within a property:
- Siding cracks and crevices
- Behind walls
- Building foundations
- Door jams
The most common time of year that a ladybug is likely to seek out shelter within a home will be during the winter once temperatures drop. The ladybug will find a cozy place out of sight to hibernate until early spring. As soon as temperatures warm, the ladybugs will start crawling or flying about the home. The awakening period for ladybugs can last for weeks depending on the size of the infestation and the current weather conditions. A homeowner will typically notice the infestation as the ladybugs explore the house and search for a way outdoors.
Another sign of a ladybug infestation is the presence of a yellow-colored secretion. The secretion is from their blood and has a distinct noxious odor. The substance is staining and can be hard to get out of fabrics such as carpets and drapes. The secretions are also likely to be found on the walls of the home and on windowsills.
Ladybug infestations occur when openings are found that allow the beetles to crawl through. This could include foundation cracks, broken window screens, eaves and siding crevices.
Ladybugs can be hard to remove from the home. As soon as you vacuum up one, another pops up on your radar. Instead, focus your efforts on preventing the bugs from getting into the home. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Make any home repairs before winter rolls around. Caulk all openings around doors and windows to seal any cracks. Check all the window screens to make sure they are tight fitting. Inspect your home’s siding, roofing and foundation to see if there is any visible damage.
- Use citrus oil when cleaning. Although the scents released by the ladybugs may be hard to remove from the home, citronella candles and citrus oils often repel them.
- Use repellent scents to stop ladybugs from swarming. Ladybugs are not a fan of mums, so it may help to have them around entrance ways. Ladybugs are also repelled by the scents released by cloves and bay leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ladybugs
Why do ladybugs return year after year?
When ladybugs find a good hibernating spot, they will release pheromones to attract them back to the site. They also tend to prefer lighter colored structures—in particular if the property receives a lot of warm sunshine. They also seem to be drawn to homes with natural wood siding and properties located in wooded areas.
Will ladybugs cause damage to my home?
Luckily, ladybugs do not feast on building materials such as wood flooring and carpets. Ladybugs usually feed on aphids and occasionally pollen.
Do ladybug houses work?
Homeowners encourage ladybugs to stay in their gardens and out of the homes by building an outdoor ladybug house. However, results are never guaranteed, and many ladybug houses end up vacant despite best efforts at attracting the beetles to them.
Getting rid of ladybug infestations is a challenge. Seek outside help from pest control experts like Carolina Pest Management not only to remove the bugs from your home, but also to keep them from returning. We serve the Carolinas and have provided superior customer service to our valued clients for decades.
Harlequin Tag is an unmarked side quest in the Trespasser DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition.
Automatically available upon reaching the Winter Palace
While exploring the Palace, various Harlequins engaged in the Grand Game appear around the Palace gardens, the bath-house, and the merchant area. Each of them will use stealth to arrive and leave, so they can be spotted via the large plume of black smoke and lightning. The Inquisitor will remark that it might be worth looking around when near one of them, similar to being near a valuable item.
If the Harlequin spots or hears the Inquisitor while approaching them (falling, jumping, staggering, colliding with objects, or running for instance), they will vanish. They will disappear if you approach them from the front, so to “tag” them, sneak up behind them. They will also disappear if you make noise, so you must carefully walk to them.
Harlequin common spawn locations and suggested save points
- Make a save point in one of two locations, marked on this map which also denotes the places Harlequins and generally found.
- From here, search the edges of each side of the map, slowing down to a walk around the places they might hide.
- Listen carefully for the whoosh sound of Stealth, look for smoke signifying their appearance and a solitary, unmoving, slightly hunched figure.
- If you walk around slowly, the Inquisitor will tell you to look around and there’ll be a Harlequin close by.
- If they haven’t been spotted yet, as soon as the Inquisitor says to look around, pause and rotate the camera around to scope out the area and check to see them.
- Once spotted, figure out which way they are facing.
- Approach them from behind and run directly at their backs.
- If you tagged the Harlequin successfully, the Inquisitor will whistle and the Harlequin will raise their hands
- Return to a save point, save and then reload to start again.
In case the above method does not work for you, try jumping down directly onto them from above, making sure to stay behind them. Upon landing, the Inquisitor should automatically “tag” the Harlequin. A good place for this is the roof of the baths (above where Vivienne is). Harlequins will randomly appear by the wall of the baths building near any of the corners, on either side of the waterfall and near Vivienne. Another place to try is to the right side of the bar (where Iron Bull is) in a small alley. A Harlequin may spawn just in front of the statue, who you can jump on by first going up to where Josephine is, then jumping off the balcony and over the statue below. Harlequins can also appear on the roof of the Gilded Horn, which can be accessed from that same balcony.
- +2 dexterity and a random amount of gold (200-250) are awarded for each Harlequin “tagged”
- Tagging all 5 Harlequins awards Brand SchematicBrand Schematic Longsword Schematic
Damage: 24 Metal
Utility: 6 Metal (2nd slot incorrectly labeled Offense)
Offense: 5 Metal
Utility: 4 Metal (4th slot incorrectly labeled Offense)
Masterwork: 1 Masterwork
Ladybird colors reveal their toxicity
Lina María Arenas, a PhD student at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter and from the University of Cambridge said: “Ladybird beetles are one of the most cherished and charismatic insects, being both beautifully colored and a friend to every gardener. Our study shows that not only does ladybird color reveal how toxic they are to predators, but also that birds understand the signals that the ladybirds are giving. Birds are less likely to attack more conspicuous ladybirds.”
Although red ladybirds with black spots are most familiar, ladybirds are a diverse group of species and come in many different colors and patterns, from yellow and orange to even camouflaged browns. The bright coloration of different ladybird species acts as a warning signal, telling potential predators to beware of the foul smelling, poisonous chemicals they use for defence.
The researchers measured toxicity using a biological assay, by counting the number of dead Daphnia — tiny crustaceans — in water containing the different ladybird toxins. The results show that five common ladybird species each have different levels of toxic defence. Those species with the most colorful and conspicuous colors against the natural vegetation where they live are also the most toxic.
Dr Martin Stevens from the University of Exeter said: “Our results tell us that the ladybirds present ‘honest’ signals to predators, because their color reveals how well defended they are.
“Relatively inconspicuous species, such as the larch ladybird, have low levels of defence and place more emphasis on avoiding being seen, whereas, more conspicuous and colorful species, such as the 2-spot ladybird, openly flaunt their strong defences to predators like birds.”
Modified cameras that are sensitive to ultraviolet light were used to photograph the ladybirds, allowing the researchers to use special modelling and image analysis techniques to analyse how each species would appear to predatory birds, which have very different color vision to humans.
To test how likely each species was to be attacked, artificial versions of each ladybird species were presented to wild birds. The birds were able to recognise the differences in coloration between the prey, and were least likely to attack the brighter, more conspicuous ladybird species.
The study is the first to comprehensively show that the level of colorfulness and conspicuousness of different species with warning signals reveals how toxic they are, and that in turn more toxic and colorful species are less likely to be attacked in the wild.
Invasion of the black ladybirds hits UK: Everything you need to know about STD-carrying Harlequin bugs
An influx of ‘foreign’ ladybirds is being reported in British towns, gathering in houses and gardens across the nation.
People across the country have taken to social media in the last few days to report seeing swarms of Harlequin ladybirds – first in the southeast of England, then spreading rapidly up to the north.
The bugs, which have black wings rather than our common red, are flying in from Asia and North America on the mild autumn winds.
The ‘alien’ species has been rumoured to pass on a ‘dangerous’ sexually transmitted disease which is affecting our native population.
Scientists have dubbed the animal Britain’s most invasive species, as it preys on seven native ladybirds including the common two-spot.
But what exactly is this disease? Can it be passed to humans? And how do we separate fact from fiction?
Here is all you should need to know about the insects from where they have come from, what exactly they are and how to get rid of them in your home.
What are the insects?
They are a species called Harmonia axyridis, otherwise known as Harlequin ladybirds.
It is a varied species which carries a large range of colours and they can have red, orange and yellow-ish markings.
The harlequin is regarded as the most invasive ladybird species on earth.
It is larger and more aggressive than other ladybirds and will even eat them.
Do the ladybirds carry STDs?
Yes – but not in the way you might think. The ladybirds carry a disease called Laboulbeniales which is a form of fungi.
It isn’t known exactly what effect it has on the bugs but it causes yellow finger-like growths.
Scientists say the fungus, which is passed on through mating, will infect our native species which are already under threat from habitat loss.
While they don’t yet know if the fungus is harmful, the UK Ladybird Survey says it is possible that the disease affects the lifespan or the number of eggs a female can produce in her lifetime.
Some of the common bugs have two distinct spots (Image: Getty)
Laboulbeniales can also occur in other bugs but is a common infection for ladybirds.
It is spread through close contact during mating and can also be passed on if the bugs huddle close together.
Can humans catch the STDs?
No – the disease can’t be passed on to humans. Laboulbeniales is also not harmful to humans.
Why is it a threat, then?
Harlequin ladybirds carrying the disease could greatly affect our native bugs by passing on the fungus.
And as the population of the insects is already dwindling, it could lead to the numbers falling even more.
It isn’t known exactly how it will affect them, but it could be dangerous to their health.
The bugs can also leave behind a nasty chemical smell in the home. They can also crawl over your furniture, leaving unsightly stains.
The Harlequin ladybird Larvae (Image: flickr/paulafrenchp)
Why are there so many ladybugs this year?
Swarms of the insects have come from overseas and have been spotted in big groups in homes, gardens and out and about.
They are mainly migrating from Asia and North America.
Where did they come from?
Most Harlequins come from Asia but they are also migrating from North America.
Although the species has been in the UK since 2004, the population has recently grown and has become more noticeable.
When did they arrive in the UK?
The ‘alien’ bugs have invaded homes across Britain (Image: flickr/Micolo J)
It was first introduced to the USA in 1916 and has rapidly invaded parts of Canada, most of Europe, and a few South American and Southern and North African countries.
The harlequin ladybird arrived in the UK in 2004. It was first introduced in Essex, and has since made its way as far as Cornwall and the Shetland Islands.
Since being introduced to European Russia in 2010, it has expanded its range southwards by 186 miles a year.
Are black ladybirds poisonous?
No, black ladybirds aren’t poisonous to humans or pets. They are just another colour from the same species.
Do ladybirds bite?
The bugs can pass on the disease by huddling together (Image: Getty)
They could do. According to experts, if hungry the bugs could bite humans.
When hungry, harlequin ladybirds will bite humans in their search for something edible.
Ladybirds in houses, woken from dormancy by central heating, may bite people as there is no food available.
The bites usually produce a small bump and sting slightly.
However, there are a few documented cases of people having a severe allergic reaction to harlequin ladybirds.
How do you get rid of ladybirds?
Experts advise that the best and most humane way to remove them from your home is with a glass and a piece of card.
The bugs carry a chemical that, if it touches a surface, could ruin furniture. So it’s probably best not to crush them.
Scientific name: Adalia bipunctata
Why are we looking for it?
There is increasing evidence that Two-spot Ladybirds have declined in numbers severely and rapidly over the past few years. This is thought to be due to competition from the non-native Harlequin Ladybird, which competes for the same prey (aphids) and predates on Two-spot Ladybird eggs, larvae and pupae.
It’s really important that we find out more about how far numbers have declined in the UK. Are Two-spots more common in some places than others, and can we see differences between urban and rural areas?
- small, oval-shaped beetle, 4-5mm long
- domed back with colourful wing-cases
- colour pattern varies, but commonly:
– red with two black spots
– black with four red spots
Could be confused with…
The Ten-spot Ladybird, which is a similar size and can also be black with red spots. Even though it’s called the Ten-Spot the number of spots can vary, so look at the colour of the underside and legs to check – if they are black, then it’s a Two-spot, if they are yellowy-brown, it’s a Ten-spot.
The Two-spot Ladybird also has a similar colour pattern to some Harlequin Ladybirds, but the Two-spot is much smaller. Harlequins are 6-8mm long, almost twice the size of a Two-spot.
Where can I find it?
Across the UK in gardens, woodlands, hedgerows and meadows. Look on the stems and leaves of plants, flowers, nettles and bushes, where it can often be found feeding on aphids.
When can I find it?
From spring to autumn you will find it on plants. In the winter it hibernates on trees and inside buildings and outhouses.
Two-spot Ladybirds live on plants, where both the adults and larvae (young) eat aphids such as greenfly.
Adults mate in late spring and lay clutches of eggs on plants during the late spring and early summer. These hatch into larvae, which feed on aphids throughout the summer, before pupating. Adults hatch from the pupa in late summer and feed until late autumn, when they enter hibernation until the next spring.
Many factors influence how long ladybirds live for, but adults can survive for up to a year.
What does it do for us?
The Two-spot Ladybird is well-loved by gardeners because it eats such a large number of aphids, keeping aphid populations down, as well as recycling nutrients. It’s better to encourage ladybirds to your garden or allotment, than to spray it with damaging pesticides.
The bright colour of the Two-spot Ladybird warns predators that it tastes bad, so is best left uneaten. To defend itself, it can also secrete a bad-tasting yellow fluid called ‘reflex blood’.
Think you’ve seen one?
Take a photo and complete our simple online form to help us learn more about their distribution.
Submit a sighting
Where have they been seen?
Explore our interactive map and see where the Two-spot Ladybird has been recorded so far.
Species Quest results map
Need help with identification?
Simply upload a picture of your find to iSpot or the Natural History Museum’s Bug forum and an online community of experts and enthusiasts will do their best to identify it.
Visit the iSpot website
Visit the Bug forum on the Natural History Museum’s website
This month we highlight a threat to some of our most popular native bugs – ladybirds. The threat is posed by another ladybird, a voracious invader from abroad – the Harlequin ladybird!
Latin name: Harmonia axyridis
Notable feature: Incredibly variable – can be red or orange with black spots or black with red spots.
Rarity in the UK: Rare / Common
Where in the UK: Widespread
The Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) is one of the most invasive insect species in the world. It took the Grey squirrel 100 years to spread throughout the UK – but it took the Harlequin ladybird less than a decade to do the same.
The Harlequin was introduced from Asia to North America in the 1980s to control aphids that were feeding on crops. However, the ladybird quickly spread across the United States to become the most common ladybird there. Its arrival in Britain in 2004 was probably accidental though it might have blown over in strong winds following its spread across Europe where it was introduced from North America, again for aphid control.
Over 100 different colour patterns have been recorded which makes it difficult to identify, especially from the Seven-spot ladybird, which is also variable..
Unlike most other ladybirds, the Harlequin doesn’t stick to one type of food. Once it has finished feeding on aphids in the crops it then turns its attention to other ladybird eggs and larvae and even the eggs and caterpillars of moths and butterflies. The main reason Harlequin ladybirds pose a threat to our native ladybirds is that they have such voracious appetites that they easily out-compete native ladybirds for food. It is almost certainly the reason why our Two-spot Ladybird is now so scarce.
Although they are not dangerous to humans they do hibernate in large numbers in houses and other buildings. There are cases of tens of thousands of ladybirds being found in homes during the winter. In the spring the ladybirds become active again and look for a way out of the house.
If there is a moral to this story, it is the dangers of tampering with nature and moving species around the world without considering the impacts these might have on native species.