This is a tale of two look-alike bugs: one is beneficial and the other one is an invasive pest. Find out why it’s important to know the difference between bad ladybugs and their luckier relatives.
Luck Be a Lady?
A cute little critter, the native ladybug symbolizes luck to many and is good for the environment. Homeowners are happy to have these beneficial bugs in their gardens because they feed on harmful pests like aphids, mites, and scale insects. Most are bright red in color with dotted dome-shaped bodies and six legs.
Asian lady beetles also prey on pests, however besides looking like the beneficial ladybugs, that’s where the similarities end. Introduced to this country in the 1960s to control agricultural pests, Asian beetles reproduced rapidly, quickly becoming an invasive species. While ladybugs are harmless, the more aggressive Asian lady beetle bites if provoked. The bad ladybugs like to overwinter in large numbers, often finding a way inside homes or buildings. The beneficial bugs tend to stay outdoors. Lastly, Asian beetles secrete a stinky yellow fluid as they overwinter in your home. It often stains walls and furniture.
Bad Beetle or Good? How to Tell the Difference
Telling bad ladybugs apart from the good is difficult because they look alike and share some similarities. But look close for a noticeable sign. If it’s an Asian lady beetle, a white M-shaped mark appears on an otherwise black head. The luckier look alikes, however, boast mostly black heads. Although often orange in color, the imported beetles vary in color from yellow to good-ladybug red and sport more spots. Size is another distinguishing trait: bad ladybugs are a little bigger.
Doing Battle with Bad Ladybugs
The best way to beat a lady beetle infestation is to prevent them from accessing your home. Seal up cracks, crevices, and gaps focusing on doors, windows, and screens, as well as openings around pipes. Once the bugs are inside your home it’s hard get them out. Avoid swatting lady beetles as this causes them to secrete the odorous fluid. Instead, use a vacuum cleaner or sticky tape to remove them from your home. Be sure to empty the vacuum outside. A gentler method is to sweep them up in a dust pan and put them outdoors.
If you find a large congregation of bad ladybugs, or any other pest, in your home, contact us right away. Call Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone] and we’ll get unwanted guests out of the house and provide you with prevention techniques.