Asian Ladybugs are quite prevalent throughout the United States. Though one ladybug by itself is not a problem, homes are being invaded by a lot more than just one asian ladybugs at a time! This article will explain why regions in the United States are faced with the problem of invading asian ladybugs and what you can do to stop it.
Asian ladybugs have always been thought of as a “good bug”. Ladybugs do indeed eat many nuisance pests found in and around the garden. As a child, I can remember being told never to kill a ladybug as it is good to have them around the home. In the last few years, we have had increasing numbers of customers from all parts of the United States call looking for relief from ladybugs that are “invading” their homes. At first I thought these were isolated instances that were due to certain conditions. I expected that these conditions were rare and explained to these frustrated homeowners that the invasion would soon subside. Too my surprise, they continued. In other words, the Asian Ladybugs just kept coming. More people began to call and it was obvious this is more than just “conditions” which were leading to these home invasions. I then conducted some research and the mystery was soon solved.
In an attempt to sell “natural pest control”, certain companies around the country have been importing Asian ladybugs from other parts of the world and selling them. These asian ladybugs have been marketed as being more aggressive and superior compared to 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 Asian ladybugs like to over winter on mountainsides, rocks and caves. Such environments are readily available in certain parts of our country, but since these Asian ladybugs 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 “pests”.
I am not sure how bad of a problem this is, but we have received reports from the Northwest, the Southeast and the Southwest. What is the problem? Although Asian ladybugs do not pose economic problems, these durable ladybugs “flock” to homes which seem to have certain “conditions conducive”. 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 Asian ladybugs start to congregate in the cracks and crevices of these homes, more will come. I have seen massive “balls” of Asian ladybugs in attics where they are mating and amassing. This hibernating will last throughout the winter and then they will emerge the following spring. The main problem is that not all of them are able to get to the hibernating areas which are out of sight. Most of the complaints involve massive numbers of these Asian ladybugs finding their way into living areas. Hence the problem: they swarm around lights, TV’s, windows and ceilings and fly into people all winter long. They are seeking a good crack or crevice to crawl into and remain during the colder time of the year but those that wander into the living area are a problem. Though Asian ladybugs don’t sting, we have had many reports from people who experience Asian ladybugs bites. This seems to happen in most cases because they are handling them. 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 bites as the Asian ladybugs are doing what they naturally do; forage for food. Since food is scarce during the time of year it’s only natural that people living with them would 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 Asian ladybugs.
To stop them from penetrating your home, there is a product we sell which works well at both killing and repelling them. CYPERMETHRIN seems to aggravate Asian ladybugs for a long period of time. Simply spray it on the sides of house where the Asian ladybugs are invading and you will be able to chase them away. The Cypermethrin will provide both a fast kill along with residual. If the Asian ladybugs 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 Asian ladybugs 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 Asian ladybugs are active. For this reason we don’t recommend it for Asian ladybugs. When treating, be sure to focus your spray at gutters, vents, windows, soffits, overhangs, and door frames. We sell several SPRAYERS which can be pumped up to a high pressure so it can spray over 25 feet. When treating, 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 can 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 problems, you may need to treat all sides of the home. This treatment will be needed in both the fall and the spring. Fall applications will stop Asian ladybugs 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 Asian ladybugs come home to a treated house, they will avoid it or suffer the consequences. This will kill off the Asian ladybugs 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 the following fall. This fall 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 Asian ladybugs altogether. The following video shows what can happen if ladybug infestations are left untreated. The video then goes on to demonstrate how to do a good thorough treatment.
If you have Asian ladybugs emerging 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 Asian ladybugs. Phantom isn’t fast acting but it’s also undetectable by the ladybugs. This means they won’t stay away from where it’s been applied so over time, if you treat the right areas you’ll get great results. This is usually around lights, windows and door frames. Phantom is both odorless and dries “dry” to the touch so it’s ideal for use in the home.
Now if you wish to get quick, almost instant results, go with DFORCE AEROSOL instead. It has a slight odor but it works fast on ladybugs making it a good choice when you have activity all over.
When deciding where to best treat, try to identify the key rooms where Asian ladybugs are entering. Treat any and all cracks and crevices to keep them out. You may find that spot treating certain areas is needed as well since ladybugs will commonly find a “hot” location where they will group in large numbers. Phantom is ideal for such treatments since it’s unique formulation will apply “dry” and not make a mess. And as we recommend with all our aerosol products, stay out of treated rooms for at least an hour to let the air settle. Also, remember that treating the inside alone will not stop the invasion without also treating outside. Be sure to spray the outside with the Cypermethrin for long term control and eventual elimination of these unwanted Asian ladybugs.
If you have sprayed the outside and still have Asian ladybugs which have still found their way inside, you may consider the use of some ASIAN LADYBUG TRAPS. These devices are designed to catch foraging Asian ladybugs as they move around in the home – particularly rooms which are difficult to treat. If you have a lot of activity around windows, get some of the ASIAN LADYBUG WINDOW TRAPS. These work really well – particularly for vacation homes – and have replaceable pheromones and glue pads. Since many of the emerging Asian ladybugs are wanting to get out and about to forage for food, they will readily migrate toward windows. By installing these traps onto the windows where the Asian ladybugs accumulate, you can really really reduce the number active inside.
If you are seeing 20 or more Asian ladybugs emerging in your home every day, do a thorough inspection of the attic and crawl space (if present). Pay particular attention to the insulation in the attic. Asian ladybugs 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, Asian ladybugs 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 Asian ladybugs 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 ladybugs 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 the Asian ladybugs won’t stand a chance. 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 by Asian ladybugs have lots and lots of small cracks, crevices and gaps through which they 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 sealant 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 as well as Asian ladybugs or other insects, consider the FOAM WITH REPELLENT. This canister 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 ladybugs 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 applicator guns clean by using some FOAM GUN CLEANER. This will help keep the gun functioning and ready to go to work when next needed.
Asian ladybugs are predatory 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 their natural pest control qualities. However, the different species ofAsian ladybugs recently introduced to our country has provided mixed results. Many people are experiencing a mass invasion of these insects. There seems to be three stages of infestations. 1) The first year the homeowner notices in the fall that Asian ladybugs 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 Asian ladybugs. 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 ladybugs 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 them the next spring or fall; just not as many. By then, the Asian ladybugs numbers will be greatly reduced and eventually they will be gone.