Once ladybugs invade, they are difficult to eradicate, this is why prevention is key. Read all about how to pest-proof your home this winter.
Report by Paula Antolini
Oct 14, 2014 6:03PM EDT
Bethel residents have recently noticed numerous ladybugs swarming their homes this week as cooler temperatures arrived and these little critters are getting into seeking shelter from the cold. There’s a “buzz” about it all over social media chats.
Ladybugs, with their orange or red bodies (can be other colors too) and black spots, are also known as Asian lady beetles, or ladybird beetles. The species is highly beneficial in that they were originally brought to the US from Asia in 1960’s to control pests that destroyed crops. They consume plant-eating insects such as aphids, mealybugs, mites, and scale insects, which harm crops and plants in gardens. Ladybugs are found worldwide with about 475 species located in the United States and Canada.
They can, however, be a nuisance. They are presently invading homes in the Midwest and Northeast, mostly attracted to light colored homes or areas that get a lot of sun because they seek the warmth before winter weather sets in. In fall they look for shelter under rocks, leaves, or places in buildings and homes.
Ladybugs do not pose any serious health or property threats, but can aggravate asthma or cause an allergic reaction in some people. They also exude a yellow foul-smelling defensive fluid that stains on contact.
Once ladybugs invade, they are difficult to eradicate, this is why prevention is key.
The National Pest Management Association recommends the following steps to pest proof your home this winter:
-Frequent vacuuming can help to eliminate tiny pests or even food that other pests feed on.
-Make sure vents are screened and gaps around windows and doors are sealed.
-Keep tree branches and shrubbery well trimmed and away from the house.
-Inspect boxes, grocery bags and other packaging thoroughly to curb hitchhiking insects.
-Keep pet food and water areas clean and fresh.
-Keep basements, attics, and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
-Store garbage in sealed containers and dispose of it regularly.
-Store fire wood at least 20 feet away from the house and five inches off of the ground.
-Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
-Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around the basement foundation and windows.
-A licensed and qualified pest control professional is your best resource to ensure these steps are completed properly.
The ladybugs die naturally once the cold sets in, but if the infestation is extensive consider calling in a pest management professional.