Do you have a ladybug invasion? You’re not alone.
They’re just looking for a nice place to spend the winter, entomologists say.
That’s no consolation for New Jersey homeowners who simply wouldn’t be the winter hibernation destination for the crowds of red and orange winged insects.
The Asian ladybug or “Halloween” beetle tends to swarm in late October and nest in white cliffs or other light-colored structures.
This year, a particularly warm fall causes insects to swarm until November throughout the mid-Atlantic.
HGTV blogger Felder Rushing advises residents not to let beetles bother you.
“First of all, calm down,” Rushing said. “Ladybugs won’t harm your home. They eat aphids, not fabric or wood. Plus, if you disturb them, they can quickly excrete a smelly yellowish protective liquid that can stain.”
He said that once the insects find a safe place, they produce a “pheromone that attracts others.”
“So it’s common to find dozens, if not hundreds at a time,” Rushing said.
NJ Pest Control in Randolph says beetles are also attracted to homes “which have a nice southwest exposure”.
Getting rid of ladybugs
“The best way to get rid of ladybugs in your house is not to let them in at all”, that is ladybug webpage advises. “Seal your cracks and crevices. Also plant flowers and fragrant plants away from your house. This should attract ladybugs outside your house.”
“Unfortunately, there aren’t any great ways to deal with ladybug infestations,” Rushing said. “Once they get in, it’s almost impossible to get rid of them until spring, when they naturally return outside.”
Rushing advises wiping down any walls or surfaces that ladybugs may have walked through to remove traces of pheromones. You can also try vacuuming them, but Rushing advises you to “put a piece of paper towel between the vacuum hose and the collection bag as a trap.”
The preference for the vacuum cleaner would be a Shop-Vac or something similar, with no propeller between the bag and the suction hose – otherwise you will create a harmful beetle mash.
And keep in mind that ladybugs are beneficial insects, so the idea isn’t to kill the insects. They provide a significant benefit to farmers by eating pest bugs including scales, aphids and aphids. An adult ladybug can eat up to 270 aphids per day, and each larva can consume up to 1,200 during its development, according to Cornell University Cooperative Extension.
Where do all ladybugs come from?
The Asian ladybug, unlike our native ladybug, is considered an invasive species. It was accidentally transported on ships bound for New Orleans, Seattle and other ports.
The insect was also imported and released in the United States as part of a federal effort to control insect pests in trees, as native species of ladybugs are not as effective in controlling aphids and mealybugs. that feed on trees, according to the Ohio State University Extension Cooperative.
Federal releases were made in California as early as 1916 and again in the mid-1960s, but the Asian lady beetle apparently failed to establish itself.
Thus, the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture began releasing beetles in the 1970s and 1980s in many southern and eastern states, including Ohio, Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania. This time they’ve taken root and thrived.
They’ve been in New Jersey for about 30 years, according to the state Department of Agriculture’s Beneficial Insect Lab.
Marsha Stoltz is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.