Ladybugs: Your well-mannered winter guests


Robin Mountjoy

February 2, 2016

When you were young, you probably made a wish on one. As an adult, you’ve seen your fair share of the little guys in your shower. Heck, you may have even dressed as one for Halloween. What are we talking about? Ladybugs, of course.

With heart-shaped wings and black-spotted backs, ladybugs are among the most recognizable insects in the region. These small beetles range in color from yellow and orange to bright red and typically grow to be about a half inch long.

Luckily for the ladybug, most people hesitate before exterminating them, and that’s usually the right instinct.

A green thumb

You love them and we love them at Connor’s too, because the ladybug is an insect that doesn’t often require our services. In fact, most ladybugs help make our job easier, because they feed on aphids, which are smaller insects that prey on crops. Ladybugs help farmers cultivate a healthy harvest by laying hundreds of eggs where aphids are plentiful, and when the eggs hatch, the newly born ladybugs begin to feed on the smaller plant-eating insects.

Lucky lady

Their life on the farm might shed some light on the cross-cultural association between ladybugs and good luck. That’s right, legend has it that ladybugs can bring good fortune—from financial success to good health. Some believe farmers with a vested interest in keeping the insects alive might have propagated that idea to protect them. Either way, they’re our good luck charms.

The exception

However, with over 5,000 distinct ladybug species, there are inevitably some bad seeds. Some species of the beetle prey on plants and look similar to the common ladybug. For instance, gardeners might not welcome the Mexican bean beetle or the squash beetle if they are looking for a healthy yield of either crop. A good way to tell these beetles apart from the common ladybug is by the head. Where ladybugs have black heads, the plant eaters have heads that match the color of their bodies.

In the home

For those of us lacking a green thumb, we’re most likely to see a ladybug in our shower during the winter months. When the spotted insects come into your humble abode, they survive by feeding off of their own body fat. That means they won’t feed on any surfaces in your home or invade your food stashes.

While ladybugs are able to survive without their main food source, they still need a little hydration, which is why they choose to cling to your shower walls. However, ladybugs give off pheromones that help their friends find them. For this reason, one could turn into quite a few in the right conditions.

A seasonal guest

Barring an infestation, it is best to leave the critters alone. You won’t be roommates with the intruders for long. In spring, they’ll return to the farm. To prevent a colony from forming in your home, you can seal the openings in your infrastructure. This can be a timely process, but Connor’s can help by finding the source of the infestation, saving you from a wasp of a task. Read more about Connor’s beetle removal services