A few warm days in the fall and all of a sudden, ladybugs are everywhere! Why are they doing this and how to do you get rid of them? We have your answers!
These swarms of ladybugs are most likely the Asian Multicoloured or Seven Spotted Ladybugs. They are both invasive species that were introduced from Japan to North America in the 90's to control aphids. Unfortunately most of our native Lady Beetles have decline in population and have been displaced by these invaders, and as invasive species, they do not have a lot of natural predators to help keep their numbers in check. Their populations have been increasing in recent years, experts speculating that it's because of the increase in soybean crops, and the soybean aphids that come along with that. These are one of the Asian ladybug's favourite food.
Photo Credit James Lindsey at Ecology of Commanster
When they invade homes, they are looking for a place to overwinter. They are attracted to light coloured houses as well as the building's heat, especially warm south facing rooms. They find small cracks and holes and crawl into your home, and they tell every other of their ladybug friends to come in too by releasing chemical pheromones that can be detected by other ladybugs almost half a kilometer away! These pheromones also mark the over wintering site so they know where to return to next year.
Once inside your home, they do not eat or lay eggs, they simply come in for the winter and bring their friends. These ladybugs are a nuisance, create a mess and sometimes they bite! On occasion, there can be a really bad invasion, with hundreds of them ending up inside a home. At this point, your best bet is to hire a licensed exterminator to help. To prevent them getting into your home, make sure all exterior cracks and holes where they can get inside, are sealed.
If you see them congregating in areas inside your home, it is best not to swat at them or try sweeping them up. This stresses the bugs which triggers the release of a smelly yellow substance, which contains blood and can stain fabrics, walls and other materials. The fastest way to get rid of them is to vacuum them up. You don't want them living inside your vacuum bag and then crawling out a later time, so use a knee high stocking inside the vacuum wand /hose. Secure it and start vacuuming. When done, you can carefully remove the piece of panty hose, tie it at the top so they don't escape and then discard.
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