Ladybugs have featured in nursery rhymes for decades. Furthermore, they are thought to be a good luck charm far and wide. Ladybugs
are often considered beneficial beetles as they feed on plant pests and they prefer to live outdoors. The vast majority of lady bug species are entirely harmless to humans and beneficial for the environment.
An exception exists though; the Asian beetle
is unlike other docile relatives. This ladybug can bite and is aggressive at times. For this reason, many often wonder; is there a ladybug species I need to be cautious of? And is it necessary to avoid such a beautiful creature?
The Differences To Look Out For Between The Asian Beetle And Other Lady Bugs
The Asian beetle has a lot of similarities to other ladybugs. To the keen eye though, there are some differences to be noted both in the physical and behavioral traits of the two ladybugs. Each has a unique life cycle and are to be found in different habitats. As a homeowner, you need to note that one type will more likely establish its habitat inside your house and start wreaking havoc.
Which is it though? How do you handle such an infestation? And can you control the harmful pest while still encouraging the “good luck charm” ladybug to survive and thrive in your landscape?
Their many questions to find answers to, and this is the exact purpose this piece here. To comprehensively distinguish between the Asian beetle and the ladybug.
The lady bug is the more commonly found insect. They have oval bodies that are dome-shaped with six, minute legs hidden underneath their shells. Although native to the United States, ladybugs have with time spread across the globe and are present in every continent today. Their shells are mostly bright red in color. With some ladybugs having plentiful black spot dots on the shells on their back. The result is an attractive “polka” design of red and black that makes the bugs all the more lady-like.
The Asian beetle
, on the other hand, was not originally found in America. Rather it was introduced in the 1960’s by the agriculture department as a control measure for other agricultural pests. Admittedly, the Asian beetle shares numerous similarities with the lady bug but some differences exist. Firstly, the Asian beetle often has a different color that ranges from black to mustard yellow. The most common color with Asian beetles, however, is orange. Another stark difference between the two insects is that the Asian beetle — also known as the Japanese beetle — is that it normally has more spots than the lady bug. These spots are exactly 19; try counting them next time you see a dark or orange “lady bug.”
Be advised though, that some Asian beetles have zero spots on their shells. Instead, they have markings that are black in color around the area of the head that is white. These markings closely resemble either ”M” or “W.” It is, also, worth noting that Japanese battles are significantly bigger than other ladybugs. Their length will normally measure 1/3rd of an inch.
Diet and Behavioral Traits
Both insects are omnivores. Despite their size, ladybugs eat about 5,000 insects in a lifetime.
For most people, the general love for ladybugs has been associated with pleasant childhood memories. Additionally, ladybugs are harmless
in nature. For gardeners and farmers, love for both Asian beetles and ladybugs for the diet they keep and what they eat. Both insects particularly enjoy feeding on aphids and other insects that can do much damage to your crops.
For the Asian beetle, however, the diet and food options don’t stop there. These beetles also devour leaves, flowers, and wounded or overripe fruits. When alone, a single beetle will not eat much; a group of beetles feeding on a farm though will have a farmer counting extensive losses due to the severity of the damage after a feeding. Unfortunately for the farmer too, is that beetles usually feed in groups. They are at their most active on sunny days and they prefer plants that are directly facing the sun. Accordingly, they will start at the top of one plant and work downwards to ensure continued exposure to the sun.
Adults target the leaf’s upper surface and chew out the tissue in between the veins making the leaf get a lacelike appearance. The Asian beetles can consume flower petals and leaves having delicate veins completely. The level of odors emitted from leaves damaged by beetles also seems to factor in the accumulation of beetles on particular plants for food.
Both the lady bug and the Asian beetle have their lifecycles split into four stages; the egg, the larva, the pupa and the adult. Here is the difference though;
– The ladybug takes one to two full months to undergo a complete transformation.
– The Asian beetle, on the other hand, only needs three to four weeks to undergo the same transformation and reach adulthood and start causing havoc.
Additionally, the Asian beetle requires particular rain and temperature to mature into adulthood, plus the right type and amount of natural food sources. For the beetle, the lifecycle begins with egg laying by adult females. This begins as soon as the adults arise from the ground and mating takes place. The females take a break from feeding in the afternoon and dig into the soil they consider suitable for their eggs. Ordinarily, these burrows extend only two to three inches into the ground. Once they are the right depth, the female will then proceed to lay her eggs – in her lifetime, a female Asian beetle will lay 40 to 60 eggs.
Once the eggs hatch, they will spend up to 10 months as white grubs in the soil. The grub feeds on roots and vegetable seedlings and thrives best in the quality turf as is found in parks, cemeteries, golf courses and well-kept home lawns. Often, with the roots severely depleted, such laws cannot take up enough water and the grass may end up dry. What’s more, these fellas can survive almost anywhere regardless of the type of soil available so no lawn is entirely safe from Asian beetles.
Soil moisture is needed to keep the eggs and grub that has been newly-hatched from drying. Thus, females will mostly be drawn to lawns under irrigation to lay their eggs. It is for this reason that such lawns and golf courses have exceedingly a high grub population even during an otherwise dry summer. As they grow, grub becomes more drought resistant and will settle into the deeper soil when conditions become exceedingly dry. High soil moisture from excessive rainfall is however not a concern with Asian beetle grubs. They can easily withstand such conditions.
Over winter, the Asian beetle grub moves deeper into the soil to avoid the low temperatures. Most will go through the winter two to six inches below the ground and dig to eight to ten inches deep if the winter is extra harsh.
As the soil temperature climbs and the winter comes to an end, the grubs will begin to move up towards the soil surface. After feeding for four to six weeks, the Asian beetle grubs will then pupate in a cell made of the earth until they later emerge as adults.
Where Do Asian Beetle And Lady Bug Live?
Despite embracement that Asian beetles receive from most people, others don’t like them and they are normally annoyed by their presence. Both the lady bug and Asian beetles are the most common types of beetles that are usually seen staying in large groups during the summer season.
Ladybugs are mostly found across Canada and the US. They are normally useful in that they can be used as biological means of controlling pests and keeping crops in good form. This is because they feed on little bugs and aphids which are harmful to crops.
Both of them can group outside homes, and before you realize, they will be ushering themselves into your home. Apart from flying in your way, they can also form large groups on the sides of your house or sheds, they will move in as soon as it starts getting cold.
They are attracted by buildings which are brightly colored, particularly those which receive good amounts of sunlight across the day. So, apart from building your house making it attractive as it can, you are exposing it to possible invasion by these little creatures. Once these ladybugs find a place to live, they will go ahead to bringing their friends to live there too. They could group to a level which is unbearable to homeowners.
The Asian ladybugs are normally attracted to structures and buildings which are:
– Near woods and fields,
– Light colored,
– Dark colored with a contrasting — light black shutters and light grey siding,
In situations where they find a favorable overwinter spot, they might produce an attractant pheromone that can make them return to the same site year after year.
There are several species of lady bug across the US. They are normally found in gardens, orchards and agricultural fields where their food which entails on mealy bugs, insects, aphids are often found.
During fall, they will group themselves in large numbers in sites where they intend to stay over winter – they usually stay under old fallen trees, leaves, under rocks and any other suitable shelter that can protect them from the cold weather.
Sometimes, they gather outside on walls of buildings where they can get warmth. When they go to most people’s homes, they might think that these ladybugs are pests which is not true since they are harmless but instead, they are beneficial.
Impact of Asian Beetle Lady Bugs Residing In Your Home
Asian lady beetles are generally harmless to human beings, they are majorly a nuisance. Different from some of the domestic pests such as cockroaches and fleas, these pests do not reproduce inside your house — this implies that those which appear during the end of winter are the same beetles that entered on the preceding fall.
Lady bugs do not damage clothing, food or wood. However, some homeowners are not comfortable with having any kind of pests inside their house even though they can’t injure them. Also, health facilities such as hospitals encourage householders to get rid of such pests to ensure that there are no any contaminants inside their homes.
Apart from being irritants, the beetles produce an acrid odor and when they are disturbed. They also produce yellowish secretions—volatile compounds that they use to protect themselves from their enemies, this secretion can cause stains on surfaces.
Even though Asian lady beetles are not now to transmit diseases, recent research studies indicate that their infestation could be responsible for allergies as seen in some individuals which range from eye irritation to asthma.
This is the reason why people should shun from touching their eyes just after handling the beetles, instead, they are required to seek medical advice if they are suspecting development of allergic reactions in their bodies. During fall, when the beetles are flying in large groups it is not uncommon to find them landing on clothes and could even bite when they come in contact with skin types. Since the beetles feed on other insects, they have chewing mouthparts which make their bite feel like a pinprick and rarely serious.
Problems with these pests normally occur around the end of summer or the beginning of fall when the beetles are finding shelter for protection over winter. When the weather outside starts getting warmer, they appear again thinking that it’s time to get outside and continue with their lives.
Most house owners often ask pest control professionals why the ladybug appears to be attracted to their house at certain times every year. Specifically, most homes and other structures which are located near the woods and fields are often heavily invested by lady bug beetles. However, the kind of material such as aluminum, wood, brick or vinyl that is used to construct the structure does not necessarily contribute it being invested by ladybugs.
For you to control these insects, you must be in a position to point out the signs of impending infestations. This enables you to get rid of them before they increase in numbers.
One of the most common signs of an infestation is the gathering of large groups of ladybugs on the south end of structures, congregated in gaps and cracks on the sides of a building, on ceilings and outside the surfaces of different structures.
With that said, how do you get rid of ladybugs in your home? Well, there are several measures you can take to safeguard your home against such invasion. So, let’s look at some of the best measures you can employ.
How To Get Rid of Ladybugs Inside Your Home
Despite how problematic lady beetles can be, undertaking control measures could help to keep them away from your home. Here are some of the proactive and control measures that can be of great help to you.
1) Proactive measures – involves preventing them from coming inside
– Seal all the gaps and cracks that could pave the way to the beetles — When performing this, you should be keen on areas such as openings around pipes, ridge, chimneys, windows, doors, and sidings.
– Replace or repair any damage door screens or window in your house — This will ensure that your house is completely sealed leaving no space or holes for beetles to enter.
2) Control measures — Involves getting rid of beetles which are indoors
– Request for inspection from pest management experts — This is the basic step of dealing with ladybug beetles, they will be able to correctly know which type of pest they are dealing with and thereby provide the right guide for handling the issue.
There are other safe and effective ways of dealing with lady bug beetles. They include:
– Use of HEPA filter vacuum — always empty the vacuum bag immediately after using it.
– Use of a broom — you can use it to sweep the pests into a dustbin or any other container and dispose of them outside thereafter.
– Use insect light traps — this is particularly suitable for use in areas that are relatively dark and are attraction sites to ladybug beetles like attics.
However, if you can’t get rid of the insects after using the above methods, then you should consult pest control experts who will be able to diagnose the problem and advice you further. They are in a good position to applying the right insecticides at the correct time of the year to control the insects before they move into your home.
How to Get Rid of Ladybugs While They Are Outside Your Home
The best time for homeowners to prevent most lady bug problems is during summer. This is because, during this period, they are normally outside before starting to invade your home during late summer. At this period, you should inspect every area outside your house carefully and:
– Caulk all cracks around the doors and windows.
– Check the roof, attic and overhang vents.
– Repair all damaged door screens.
– Repair all damaged window screens.
– Patch all the holes leading to the attic.
Also, application of insecticides on all areas outside your home will be effective in preventing them from entering your home. What the insecticides do is that it repels most of the insects that group on your home and prevents them from coming inside. However, application of these insecticides should start during the end of summer. This is due to temperature considerations and other factors which might necessitate reapplication of the insecticides from time to time. If you don’t have the equipment to perform the application, you should seek help from pest control experts who have the right equipment for this job.
Lady Bug Traps and Repellents Commonly Used — Why They Are Ineffective As Using The Services of An Expert
Despite a large number of lady bug traps in a variety of designs, the most used traps are those using a black light in attracting ladybugs and those which use water, powder or any other kind of adhesive in trapping the ladybugs. The level of appeal of these traps majorly relies on the quantity of light competing with the traps own light. Setting up light traps around dark basement or attics is going to capture some ladybugs, however, they might not be enough to give satisfying control to most homeowners.
Those compounds which are usually sold as ladybug repellants normally contain menthol or camphor, capsaicin, garlic oil, alcohol or mineral oil. Despite the fact that they might be able to repel these insects in few areas, they may demand reapplication many times to enhance their effectiveness.
While lady bug trap devices and repellents might work, they could be costly to use due to the large amounts involved. This means that the most reliable means of handling ladybug issues is to seek for the services of pest control professionals and follow their advice, control plans and recommendations. Most pest control experts that you seek help from will give you an integrated plan that designed with respect to various effective ladybug control mechanisms. Some of these components include;
– Cultural controls,
– Indoor vacuuming,
– Application of insecticides on targeted harborage sites,
– Exterior barrier application of products.
Lady Bug Management
How people perceive Asian beetles or lady bugs differ to a large extent, while some people could tolerate their presence around their homes, other feel annoyed on their sight. However, there are management practices that can help you manage them when they become irritating and you can’t condone their presence anymore. Here are some of the ways you can make use of to get rid of these insects;
Once these insects have managed to get into your home, one of the best ways of getting rid of them is using a vacuum cleaner. If you want to dispose of the beetles outside after cleaning then when cleaning, you should place and handkerchief sandwiched by the dust collection bag and vacuum hose to act as a trap. You can also use a broom, however, it might get stained by the yellowish secretions for defense produced by the beetles.
2) Sealing Entry Points
Sealing openings and cracks is one of the surest and permanent way of keeping beetles away from your building. The suitable time to perform sealing is during late spring or summer. This is because, at this period, the insects normally have not begun flying to buildings in search of shelter to spend overwinter. You should use caulk or any other perfect sealant to seal cracks on wires, utility pipes, fascia boards, soffits, doors, and around windows. These are some of the common entry points of beetles into your home.
If you come across larger holes or cracks, you can use copper mesh, urethane foam or cement to plug them. Additionally, if you have any broken window then you should perform repairs on them and set up screening behind attic vents. You should also install thresholds and tight fitting door sweeps at the south end of all doors opening to the outside. You should ensure that all gaps of 1/8” are fitted since they allow beetles and other insects to enter your home through them. Foam weather stripping is quite useful in sealing glass doors with gaps under sliding doors.
3) Application of Insecticides
Insecticides are quite useful for use for treatment of insects be it indoor treatment or exterior treatment. They are normally good for use with sealing. Let’s look at them in details:
Even though insecticides or spray could be useful in getting rid of beetles indoors, they are not recommended. This is because of the stains that they leave on your walls, countertops or any other surfaces. Instead, using vacuum cleaners is preferred by pest control experts because of its improved hygiene and effectiveness. However, trying to kill beetles hiding in wall cavities or any other protective places using insecticides is rarely effective. You are therefore encouraged to employ preventive measures to prevent entry of beetles in the following years. Such measures might be useful in saving you the hassle of eliminating beetles inside your house.
While sealing openings and cracks could be a permanent method of preventing entry of beetles into your home, this approach requires a lot of time and it might be impractical in other instances. This is because the number of cracks could be many due to their presence on vents, siding, and eaves among other areas. For instance, in the case of handling a multi-storage building, using sealing approach proves to be quite difficult.
However, there are certain methods which have been observed by experts to be effective in getting rid of Asian beetles and lady bugs outside buildings. These methods include:
Control by Professional Pest Management Companies
When ladybugs are becoming a persistent problem in your home, you should consider acquiring help from pest control professionals. These are the people who know the best approach that should be used in getting rid of beetles in your location. Most experts will apply insecticides to your building exteriors during fall, this will prevent the insects from entering the building. The process entails using responsive insecticides to spray possible entry point areas such as around vents, soffits, eaves, doors, windows and other areas that are likely to allow entry of beetles.
There are certain insecticides which are known to be more effective, they include:
– Tempo (cyfluthrin),
– Talstar (bifenthrin),
– Suspend (deltamethrin),
– Demand (lambda-cyhalothrin),
There are other effective over the counter types these insecticides which include:
– Spectracide Triazicide,
– Ortho Home Defense Max,
– Bayer Advanced Powerforce Multi-Insect Killer,
The good thing about these products is that they are purchased in concentrated form. This allows you to dilute them thereby enabling you to obtain considerably large volumes of insecticides to use with a hose-end or pump-up sprayer.
Nevertheless, for these treatments to be effective, they should be applied before the insects enter the buildings during winter. It is therefore important to seek advice from pest control professionals on the exact time when treating the beetles is appropriate.
Other approaches which are suggested by experts to ease Asian lady beetles are:
– Using Light Traps — Light taps prove to be useful in capturing lady beetles and flies in dark places like attics, however, they will capture a small number of beetles entering your home during fall or originating from hidden places in the subsequent spring.
– Selling ladybug for garden use — This method could be useful in reducing them but it might not be effective in getting rid of the beetles from your living space.
If you are planning on releasing the beetles into the garden then there are some things involved. Here is are some of the rules that you should follow in undertaking this form of pest control.
Rules of Releasing Ladybugs
Most people prefer using ladybugs as biological means of pest control to avoid having to use pesticides on protecting their plants at the same time eliminating the beetles inside their homes.
Ladybugs are a great alternative to killing bugs in your indoor garden. However, if you are planning on using pesticides such as insect soap or neem oil, then you should not use ladybugs since pesticides pose harm to them.
Here are some of the rules to guide you.
1) Avoid using pesticides prior to releasing ladybugs – these insects don’t work well with pesticides, the pesticides might even kill them which means that the will no longer be effective. Therefore, you should not use pesticides when you intend to use ladybugs in the same place.
2) Chilling ladybug in the fridge before releasing them — Ladybugs are known to crawl most times in cold temperatures. This is why keeping them in your fridge overnight could be useful in helping them adapt to crawling around your garden.
3) Release the ladybugs before the sun rises or just after the sun settles — This is because ladybugs move well in the presence of light and they could even fly away when your garden becomes warm. Releasing them in early mornings or in the evenings will be useful in keeping them around. However, you should ensure that the garden has optimum temperature before releasing them.
4) You should make sure the garden is wet before releasing them — Ladybugs are comfortable in wet places where they find water to drink plus it enables them to stick on plants when they are crawling. This is important because they not only fly away due to warmth but also due to lack of food and water.
5) Avoid shaking the container or bag in encouraging them to move out of their confinement — Getting them too excited is not advised. This is because it increases their likelihood of flying away even before they accomplish your intended purpose. Instead, let them move out of the container at their own pace when they are ready.
However, there is no quick way to fix annual lady bug invasion into your homes. Despite pest proofing, properly timed application of insecticides and vacuuming being among the best ways to approach the issues, they might not completely prevent entry of beetles.
YOU SHOULD AT ALL INSTANCES ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO APPLY THE INSECTICIDES FOR SAFETY PURPOSES