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February 2, 2014
Ladybugs are darling in small quantities. But during a ladybug swarm, you may find hundreds of them in your home.
In the fall ladybugs are forced to seek shelter from the cold weather inside walls, where they typically have no food. Since insects get their water from food, they are also deprived of water during the winter months. Once the outside walls warm up in February or March, ladybugs emerge from hiding to find food and to mate. Unfortunately, many ladybugs never find their way outdoors. Unable to survive the warm dry environment indoors, they leave behind tiny carcasses and sometimes even make yellow spots on your walls. They are most active in October, when they move inside, and in February or March, when they emerge to find food and to mate.
It is true that (some) ladybugs are beneficial for natural pest control. These carnivorous insects protect plants by attacking aphids. Some places even offer ladybug releases. For example, each day at Disney World children can release ladybugs in The Land Pavilion at Epcot. However, not all ladybug species are beneficial. Some, like the common Asian lady beetle, are simply a nuisance.
The Asian lady beetle entered the U.S. in the late 1980’s through Abita Springs, Louisiana’s international port. They are thought to have stowed away on international shipments from Asia, and quickly spread thanks to the ideal living conditions in the U.S.
The best way to get rid of ladybugs is simply to wait until they emerge and then clean them up with a vacuum. This is preferred over crack and crevice treatments because treating the ladybugs that are inside your walls can create an even bigger bug problem. When ladybugs die inside the walls, they become a food source that attracts other pests.
An even easier and more humane solution: use exclusion strategies to keep ladybugs from overwintering in your home in the first place. Block any small gaps and crevices that serve as entryways to your home’s exterior. Bonus: when you seal up the gaps, you prevent infestations by ladybugs as well as stinkbugs and other pests.
Finding all of the gaps in your home’s exterior can be tedious, and an amateur might not easy identify all the entryways that a ladybug would find inviting. This requires inspecting and sealing holes from the ground all the way up to the roof – a reason many customers leave exclusion to pest control professionals. Read more about our beetle control services.