Ladybugs: Gardener’s friend or Household Pest?

Ladybugs, or lady beetles, are beneficial insects to gardeners because they are predators of garden pests such as aphids and spider mites. While you may be overjoyed to see this creatures in your garden, it might not be as much of a blessing in your home which happens as winter approaches and they seek shelter.

ladybug

Most ladybugs will seek shelter in their natural habitat but a new imported species, the multicolored Asian lady beetle, likes to spend winters at lower elevations, and our houses happen to be very appealing. While they do no physical harm, some believe they contribute to indoor allergies and they can be very messy.

The best measure for combating with ladybugs inside your home is a preventative spray to ensure that you gain the benefits of having them in your garden but without the burden of a home invasion.  If you do decide to spray, it is important to prevent them entering your home for winter by spraying the exterior walls during the fall months

Since ladybugs are tree-dwelling insects, homes and buildings in forested areas are especially prone to infestation. Suburban and landscaped industrial settings adjacent to wooded areas may have large populations. Ladybugs congregate in large numbers during the late fall rather than disperse to over winter individually under bark or in leaf litter, as do most lady beetles. They prefer to cluster on the sides of homes and other buildings, eventually working their way into the building through small cracks or crevices, or natural breaks in the window panes, door jams or foundations as the temperatures decrease. Once inside the building, ladybugs hibernate, until the first warm days of late winter or early spring, when they seem to come to life again and begin crawling about.

Ladybugs tend to be attracted to lighter colored buildings and especially to those that are illuminated by the sun.
Darker colors and buildings in the shade are less likely to have problems. Unfortunately, they may also forget how they gained access to the house to get back out after winter is over, this may deter you from wanting to let them spend the winter as “guests”.

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