How to stop ladybugs from congregating in your house, and get rid of them if they are.
Those that say ladybugs are good luck probably have never had a colony of these beetles invade their home. While superstitious folk may hesitate to lay a finger on a ladybug, those who find their living room crawling with these spotted creatures will have few qualms about phoning the exterminator.
Ladybugs, known also as Asian lady beetles, are usually considered helpful in the fight against pesky insects. In fact, the reason why they were first imported from Asia to the states was to exterminate aphids and other plant pests. However, the beetles’ rapid reproduction rate and ability to migrate long distances were two factors not accounted for, and soon the nation and our Canadian neighbors to the north were infested with ladybugs.
Ladybugs are a problem to homeowners when a change in season occurs. When the temperature drops in the autumn months ladybugs seek refuge anywhere that is warm, for instance, your home. Months later when spring rolls around these beetles sprout from the ground and look for the outside, often using your house as a detour. The Asian beauty will snuggle its way into the smallest of cracks in your home, especially on the southwest side, where it is bright, lighted, and warm. If they cannot navigate their way outside they will die in your home.
So what is the best way to prevent your house from becoming a tropical ladybug paradise, or for that matter, a beetle graveyard? Most experts, including the Department of Agriculture, recommend vacuuming or sweeping as the best measure against ladybugs. Though it requires constant upkeep this method is easy, inexpensive, and harmless to the condition of your house.
Can you stop the bugs from entering all together? It is difficult, but possible to ladybug-proof a house. Preventative measures include sealing the outside of your house. Sealing the cracks, doors, windows, and all other possible points of entry into your home is crucial. Attics should be covered with screens, as should dryer vents. Making sure that the windows and doors are properly fitted is important not only for the prevention of insect infestation, but for general safety concerns as well. While in practice the exterior sealing method makes sense, the ladybug is a persistent creature that will find the smallest of cracks and use it to gain access.
Another option is to use insecticide against ladybugs. Many people do not like using sprays, as they can be hazardous to household pets, babies, and adults if inhaled in significant quantities. Insecticide spray can also ruin many household surfaces and may be a possible source of contamination in the kitchen. Exterior pesticides are a better option than interior sprays. Early October is the optimal time for dusting, as this is when the beetles are about to seek refuge from the winter weather. If the problem is serious an exterminator should be called to complete the task. Again, the fall is the best time for an exterminator since the beetles are still in the process of entering your home.
There is one last, and more unconventional way that ladybugs can be deterred from your home. Ladybugs release pheromones to attract each other and as a general means of communication. By leaving a scent, ladybugs indicate to future generations where a safe spot to hibernate for the winter is. To prevent your dining room wall from becoming a message board for ladybugs you may consider cleaning your interior walls. The ladybug scent is very strong, but scrubbing off pheromones with disinfectant soap is an option. By erasing and replacing the scent the ladybug chain of communication is broken.
The size of your ladybug dilemma will likely determine your method of solution. Whether you choose to broom, spray, seal, or scrub, may you have the best of luck.