Lady bug problems are quite prevalent throughout the United States. Though one lady bug by itself is not a problem, homes are being invaded by a lot more than just one lady bug! This article will explain why regions in the United States are faced with the problem of invading lady bugs and what you can do to stop it.
In an attempt to sell “natural pest control”, certain companies around the country have been importing asian lady bugs from other parts of the world and selling them. These asian lady bugs have been marketed as being more aggressive and hearty than our own indigenous species. One feature of their biology, however, is that they do not die each winter. They hibernate. Unlike our own native species, these imports like to over winter on mountainsides, rocks and caves. Such environments are readily available in certain parts of our country, but since these lady bugs are being released in areas where such terrain does not exist they are taking advantage of the next best thing – our homes! Watch this short video to see one of these lady bug pests.
What is the problem? Although asian lady bugs do not pose economic problems, these durable beetles “flock” to homes with certain conditions. They seem to be seeking a certain temperature as well as a good amount of cracks and crevices. Homes with cedar shakes or other wood siding seem to be more vulnerable. Once these lady bugs start to congregate in the cracks and crevices of these homes, more will come. I have seen massive “balls” of them in attics where they are mating and amassing. This hibernating asian lady bugs will last throughout the winter and will emerge the following spring. The main problem is not all of them are able to get to the hibernating areas. Most complaints involve massive numbers of these asian lady bugs finding their way into living areas. They swarm around lights, TV’s, windows and ceilings. They are seeking a good crack or crevice to crawl into and remain during the colder time of the year. Though they don’t sting, we have had many reports from people who have received lady bug bites. This seems to happen because people are handling these invading asian lady bugs. However, large populations which are allowed to accumulate in the home will lead to more and more contact with the people who live there. Ultimately this contact will lead to more bites as the lady bugs are doing what they naturally do; forage for food. Since food is scarce during the time of year that they come inside it is more common for people to get bit at this time. During the summer months they have plenty to eat and consequently don’t randomly bite in an effort to find food. I used to advise customers to “catch and release” them back outside, but that suggestion has gotten many mean and ornery responses. We now recommend several treatment methods which have proven effective to control and eventually eliminate these unwanted invaders.
To stop invading asian lady bugs from penetrating your home, there is a product we sell which works well at repelling them. CYPERMETHRIN seems to aggravate them for long periods of time. Simply spray this material on the sides of house where they are invading and you will be able to both kill them and chase many away. The Cypermethrin will provide both a fast kill along with residual. If the lady bugs persist on treated surfaces too long, they will die since the Cypermethrin will last a few weeks. Although the use of INSECTICIDAL SOAP will kill them quickly, it doesn’t have any residual. This means new lady bugs will be able to come to the structure and enter at will within a day of treatment. Insecticidal soap does not provide any repellency or residual which means you will have to apply it over and over again when lady bugs are active. For this reason we don’t recommend it for lady bugs. When treating, be sure to focus your efforts at gutters, vents, windows, soffits, overhangs, and door frames. We sell several types of SPRAYERS which can be pumped up several times so you can spray over 25 feet up where needed. Start high on the side of the house and carefully watch to see how much runs down the building. By seeing where the spray runs, you will be able to minimize waste and maximize coverage. One gallon treats 1,000 square feet and most infestations are on one or two sides of a home. For bad lady bug problems, you may need to treat all sides. This treatment will be needed in both the fall and the spring. Fall applications will stop lady bugs from making your home theirs for the winter so you won’t have them active inside the home during this season. Spring applications will kill off the ones already residing in the structure as they start to forage with warming weather. When they come home to a treated house, they will avoid it or suffer the consequences. This will kill off the lady bugs which refuse to leave and drive the others away. You will probably need to treat once or twice during the summer, but be sure to treat in the fall. This treatment is important as a timely application will protect your home for the winter. This insures you won’t get invaded again and will eventually eliminate the infestation altogether. The following video shows just what can happen to a house when left untreated and ladybugs start to invade. The video then goes on to demonstrate how you can treat such structures.
If you have lady bugs inside the home, the active ingredient Chlorfenapyr comes in a handy aerosol called PT PHANTOM.This product has a crack and crevice applicator which allows you to treat around windows, molding and light fixtures. These are common routes of entry for lady bugs. Phantom is both odorless and dry to the touch after spraying so it’s ideal for use in the home. It’s also long lasting and “non repellent” which means ladybugs won’t sense it’s even present. This means they’ll continue to walk over treated surfaces without any clue they are walking to their demise. If you have so many ladybugs and wish to use something fast acting, go with the D-FORCE AEROSOL. It does have a slight odor but you’ll get instant results.
When looking for where to treat, try to identify the key rooms where the asian lady bugs are entering. Treat any and all cracks and crevices to keep them out. Remember that treating inside will not stop them without also treating outside. Be sure to spray the outside with the Cypermethrin for term control and eventual elimination.
If you have sprayed the outside and still have asian lady bugs which have still found their way inside, you may consider the use of our LADYBUG GLUE TRAPS. These devices are designed to catch foraging asian lady bugs as they move around in the home – particularly rooms which are difficult to treat. Be sure to replace the traps as they get filled. In most cases, you can hang it where it no one will notice, but if they do see it, they won’t find it offensive looking unless it’s filled with bugs. Now if you have a lot of activity around windows, get some of the LADYBUG WINDOW TRAPS. These work really well – particularly for vacation homes – and have replaceable pheromones and gluepads. Since many of the emerging asian lady bugs are wanting to get out and about to forage for food, they will readily migrate toward windows. And for large rooms or vacation homes where you won’t be present for long periods of time, the LIGHTED LADYBUG TRAP may be best suited. Using both a pheromone lure and a special UV light, this trap can lure hundreds of ladybugs inside and once they enter the jar they cannot escape. It works equally well on Stinkbugs too and the following video shows how to set one up.
Here are some photo’s showing the trap as it looks lit up and deployed as well some stinkbugs captured in the holding tank. This trap was originally designed for ladybugs but it turns out to work well for stinkbugs too.
If you are seeing 20 or more asian lady bugs emerging in your home every day, do a thorough inspection of the attic and crawl space. Pay particular attention to the insulation in the attic. Asian Lady Bugs like to burrow under and between insulation and wood sheathing. Most homes develop infestations in these locations well before owners realize anything is happening. Once established, these asian lady bugs will breed and over winter. After a season or two of doing this, their numbers will be so great that they will find their way into your living area. If you find them in either the attic or crawl space of your home, you will have to do a power dusting. This treatment is a lot more effective than spraying. Liquid treatments don’t do well in the attic. The porous materials in the attic tend to absorb the Cypermethrin which takes away its residual. Dust is dry and will last several months and in most cases up to a year. Treat with DELTAMETHRIN DUST for maximum protection. It should be applied with a DUSTIN MIZER to get the product evenly distributed. Once the attic or crawl space is treated, asian lady bugs will quickly die. The residual of the Deltamethrin Dust will provide continuous protection so no new infestations will be able to live and breed. Combine this with spraying the outside of your home and you will have effective asian lady bug control. But remember, they will continue to return to your home and as long as your house has open cracks and crevices for them to hibernate, expect them to be around. For this reason, you may want to do some “house sealing”. Most homes that get invaded have lots and lots of small cracks, crevices and gaps through which asian lady bugs enter. These entry points should be reduced and/or eliminated with the use of some FOAM SEALENT. These cans are self charged and good for small jobs. If you have a lot of work to do, it would be wise to invest in one of the professional FOAM GUNS and maybe even the 24″ FOAM GUN. These tools will enable you to apply the sealent quickly and precisely without much waste or missed applications. In other words, they will more then pay for themselves. You’ll need the FOAM CANNISTERS for these guns, which easily fit on either applicator, and cover a much larger area then the smaller cans. If your home is prone to animal invasions, consider the FOAM WITH REPELLENT. This cannister comes with expanding foam but includes a strong repellent which insects and animals do not like. It may be just what you need to make sure asian lady bugs and other undesirable home invaders aren’t able to find their way inside quite as easily as they have in the past. Be sure to keep your guns clean by using some FOAM GUN CLEANER. This will help keep the gun functioning and ready to go to work when next needed.
For even better ladybug repellency, be sure to add some NBS ADDITIVE to your paint/stain the next time you finish your homes’ exterior. NBS is especially helpful when painting or staining wood that’s been a winter nest site for Asian Ladybugs. NBS can be added to any paint or stain and will last 1-2 years adding long term repellency to the exterior coating. Made from plant oils, this 100% natural product isn’t a pesticide and it won’t kill any insect so you still need to treat as explained above to control current infestations. But Ladybugs don’t like it (neither do wasps, boxelder bugs, stinkbugs and other invasive insects) and they’ll avoid siding, fencing, railing, decks, logs, overhangs, soffits and any place NBS has been added to the finishing paint or stain. It can also be used like the Cypermethrin. Adding it to the tank mix and spraying it like Cypermethrin will effectively yield invasive pests for 1-2 months per treatment. Use it safely on the home, in the yard and just about anywhere you’ve got bugs where you don’t want them. NBS won’t kill anything because it’s not a pesticide but will chase insects away.
Asian lady bugs are predatory lady beetles who help man in pest control. In general, they do not present a problem. In fact, most people would like to have them around for natural pest control. However, the different species recently introduced to provide natural pest control has had mixed results. Many people are experiencing a mass invasion of this asian lady bug species. There seems to be three stages of infestations. 1) The first year the homeowner notices in the fall that asian lady bugs are resting and crawling on their home. They don’t do anything about it and ignore them when they emerge in the spring. Little do they know… 2) Next fall, the homeowner notices a lot more. Again, they do nothing. They hope it is just a “fluke” that will go away. 3) By the third or fourth year, the situation is unbearable. If spraying is done in the first or second year, asian lady bug invasions will be easy to control. If you have waited several years to treat, we suggest doing a power dusting as well to get quicker and more thorough control. Once you begin treating, expect to see the asian lady bugs hanging around through to the next spring or fall. Their numbers will be greatly reduced and eventually they will be gone.