Archive for Monday, November 3, 2008

Asian lady beetles looking for winter homes

November 3, 2008


Entomology experts say that Asian lady beetles, which seem to be everywhere in Lawrence, are simply looking for a place to hibernate for the winter.

Entomology experts say that Asian lady beetles, which seem to be everywhere in Lawrence, are simply looking for a place to hibernate for the winter.

Those pesky Asian lady beetles are back.

The beetles are looking for a place to hibernate. Once successful, they like to invite their friends.

"They won't reproduce, but they send out a pheromone that tells all of the other lady beetles that they have a good place to stay," said Jennifer Smith, horticulture agent with Douglas County's K-State Research and Extension office.

While it has been warm outside, shorter days are signaling that winter is near and telling the beetles they had better find a tiny, dark crevice to hide in. Once settled, they likely will remain there until they depart next spring in search of food.

"In Asia - their native habitat, they look for caves and they go into the hills. So here, they are finding houses and structures," Smith said.

They tend to be attracted to two-story houses that have sun shining on the south or west side of the home. They also like light-colored houses in the shades of whites, grays and yellows. They also like lots of trees.

In the late 1970s, Asian lady beetles were introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help control other pests. They are most beneficial because they eat aphids, which are plant pests. Smith said the abundance of aphids is one reason the beetles are so prolific.

Pete Haley, owner of Haley Pest Control in Lawrence, said the beetles seem to be a growing problem each spring and fall. Last week, he received 10 calls within 15 minutes about the beetles. He said they were called to one new home that had about 800 beetles inside.

They are considered harmless because they don't damage a home like mice or termites, but they can bite if bothered.

"They are not too much of a threat, but they drive people crazy," he said. "When they get in your kitchen and fly in your food, that's not good."

So, how do you get rid of them?

There's only about two things you can do. Vacuum them up and release them, or call a professional. Haley said he charges about $100, depending on how many there are.

"They aren't really harmful, but they have become a pest. When you introduce non-native species, that's what you get," Haley said.


EarthaKitt 9 years, 5 months ago

She hates my mamaShe hates my daddy tooShe loves to tell meShe hates the things I doShe loves to lie beside meAlmost every nightShe's no lady she's my wife

RaynRavyn 9 years, 5 months ago

"They can bite if bothered" Or if they happen to land on you, at all. Got bit by several of these little suckers while doing yardwork over the weekend. It stings for as small as they are! :)

Weezy_Jefferson 9 years, 5 months ago

A swarm of these lady beetles attacked and ate my sister.

persevering_gal 9 years, 5 months ago

I was pretty much attacked by these things last week! A good suggestion if you want to save some money...go buy a $4 can of Raid and spray it right on them, and they are gone just like that! Save yourself $96!

gr 9 years, 5 months ago

"but they can bite if bothered."That's misleading.Emergency room scene: What happened to you?! I cornered a ladybug and it attacked me.Yes they do bite, but I've never noticed it when you pick them up. They usually nibble on your skin when left alone. I suspect they sense "meat" (A gigantic aphid?) and are merely taking a snack. I've never noticed their bite to "sting", but they do get your attention. Once brushed off, the bite is nothing more than like small incisors having cut into your skin.

corey872 9 years, 5 months ago

How funny...I've been trying to get these things in the help control an aphid infestation - they certainly would have an all you can eat buffet, but they never seem to stick around! Now it appears the beetles themselves can cause an infestation! May be better just to go with some pesticide.

mmiller 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm starting an asian lady beetle farm!

Janet Lowther 9 years, 5 months ago

Years ago, I went to change a fluorescent light tube in the basement and there were hundreds of the little varmints. I just let 'em find new places to lodge, except for a few who stayed in the way and got squished.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.