Invation of the Asian Lady Beetle : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Greetings from the Grange. Naturalist, Carla Striegel from Patoka Lake claims there are more than 4000 species of Ladybugs throughout the world, I have no reason to doubt that fact considering at this moment there are probably more that 4000 Ladybugs on the front of my house. These are not those cute little red with black spot Ladybugs of my youth, the ones that I would find huddled beneath a leaf or hidden in a crevasse of the bark on a tree. And these are not the Ladybugs in children's story books or the bug that you are compared to when it is said that you are as cute as one. These are the invading man eating blood sucking Ladybugs from the planet Zebulon...Well, not really it just seams that way. In reality these are the "Harmonia axyridus." Notice the first name is derived from the word harmony? Some Latin linguist must have been trying his hand at humor when he chose the nomenclature for this Ladybug other wise known as The Asian Lady Beetle. It was man's superior way of thing that we know what is best for the balance of nature that brought this biblical sized plage of these Asian Lady Beetle down on us. The Asian Lady Beetle was imported to this country for the biological control of aphids and scale pest in agriculture. There may also have been some accidental release of the beetle from cargo ships. Controlling pest organically by letting nature do what she was intended to do is great. If the bugs eat the pest and we don't spray nasty chemicals to kill the good bugs, it's a win, win situation. This is what our Pretty Red with Black Spots Ladybug was and is doing for us. So why are we not over ran with red Ladybugs? Because they live here, are from here and have natural enemies here. In other words they are part of the food chain. The Asian Lady bug on the other hand is not. They do live here now but they are not from here therefore they have no (or very few) natural predators here. The good news it that researchers predict that the Asian Lady Beetle will be on the decline when some of there natural enemies such as parasitic wasp start to increase. Folks keep in mind these are the same researchers who thought it was a good idea to bring these Asian Lady bugs over here in the first place, and there is no mention of a time frame when they believe this will happen. OK. So now you know that you are stuck with these creatures for a while, what can you do about them? Nothing. That right you read it right, nothing. Even if you were prone to using those nasty pesticides there would still be nothing you can do about them. Back to the invading bug from Zebulon theory, you can't kill them. The invaders won't die. (Sounds like an Orson Wells plot.) The best way to rid these unwanted aphid eating scale sucking pest from your home (I know you are going to think this idea sucks) is to vacuum them out (sorry I couldn't resist.) Try to avoid smashing the bugs. One of there defenses has a skunk like quality. I know from personal experience that they also taste bad. (One got in my drink.) Another defense system. The reason there invaders are clinging to our houses is simple, they're free loaders looking for a place to stay for the winter. Back home in Asia the overwinter in rock outcropping or building. Mainly those with Southern exposers to utilize the suns winter rays for warmth. They also seem to prefer lighter colored houses over the darker ones, a reminder of there home land I assume. On the brighter side of this unwanted invasion. The beetles do not harm humans and they do not reproduce young inside your house. They lay their eggs outside on plants where their larva can find food such as the aphid who they were brought here to control. Other than giving them the hoover treatment about the only thing you can do with these unwanted house guest is to name Bem and put out another plate for Thanksgiving and Christmas, cause these pest are here till spring. Today's thought, "It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

-- Grant Eversoll (, October 29, 2000


Grant, thank you, I no longer have to feel guilty about relentlessly vacuuming up the darned things! We also have thousands of the things flying around here, and covering all the south and west facing light colored surfaces, unfortunately our house and most of our outbuildings are white, ladybug magnets! They get in the house even though we have all new replacement windows that are super insulated (Dad does that for a living or we could never afford that) and professionally caulked and sealed. But they still get in! I also think they're right up there to be qualified for "plague" status, this from the same people who thought that multiflora rose would be perfect for erosion control here in Ohio. First they paid people to plant it, it took over fields like a cancer, then they paid people to eradicate it, it remains a constant problem here. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, October 29, 2000.

Come on, guys! Is it really necessary to hoover these little beetles?

I must be missing something. They don't eat your crops. They don't eat you. They DO eat plant pests. So what's wrong with them? They are FREELOADING? I think, au contraire, that they are earning their keep!

Are you even sure they are "Asians"? You realize, of course, that there are many different species of "native" lady bugs, right?

I have hundreds (ok, I'll admit it, only hundreds--not thousands) of the little cuties. I found a site on the net which showed that they are natives, at least most of them. There are "nine spot" lady bugs, seven spot lady bugs, and a bunch more. Oh, yeah: my favorite--the "twice stabbed" lady bug, which is jet black with one bright red spot on each side.

The reason they are in my house is that they are looking for a safe place to hibernate for the winter. In the spring, when they get active , and start climbing onto the windows, I gently force them to drop into a coffee mug (with a tea spoon, they fall into the cup when they are dislodged) and put them outside. There, they begin to eat aphids and other pests once again. We never have to use any pesticides at all.


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@echoweb.neet), October 29, 2000.

I know what you mean the multiflora rose came from here in Indiana from Purdue...I'm an IU man myself Every time my dad and I had to clear out those roses dad would cuss Austin Rudoulf (an old big farmer here in town) for bringing them in.

-- Grant From Indiana (, October 29, 2000.

Hea jumpoff joe. If you just have hundreds you do no yet have the Asian Beetle I was not joking about 4000 on the front of my house. you can not walk outside with out having then end up in your hair your pockets your drink or what ever. I am glad they eat pest but this is nuts the swarm last about a month...just while the farmers are harvesting then they settle on and in youe house forthe winter. These are orange and a bit bigger than the red ladybugs. smash one with your finger, if you can't get the smell off for a day or two you have the Asian ladybug

-- Grant (, October 29, 2000.

Grant is not exaggerating the quantity of the ladybugs that are swarming, some particularly warm days I estimate the count to be closer to the millions, not thousands. I'd be happy with just hundreds. One of the most annoying traits these little buggers have is the orange trail of "bug juice, or the eqivalent of fly specks" that they leave where they have been, on a white house with white trimed windows, it makes quickly for an ugly mess. You can scrub everthing down one day, and in a day or two, the mess is back, and the orange stuff doesn't come off easily. They are definitly not regular ladybugs, we have some of those, they don't try to come inside and are not attracted to light-colored surfaces like these are. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, October 29, 2000.

The ones swarming here bite. I felt a bite on my arm, looked, and it WAS a ladybug. They aren't much of a problem, but I do get tons in the house, the garage and such. They are looking for a place to sleep. When the woodstove gets going, they come back out thinking it is warm again, and crawl all over the windows. As long as they eat aphids, they can sleep here.

-- Cindy in Ky (, October 30, 2000.

I think our ladybugs are about finished, but I've noticed boxelder bugs swarming. LOTS of them. Never saw that before.

-- Teresa in TN (, October 30, 2000.

We have lots of box elder bugs, too. These are "true bugs" (hemiptera) Lady bugs aren't really bugs,in the entomological sense.

Hey Grant, Annie, and Cindy, are these even really lady bugs? How many spots do they have? It sounds pretty bizarre, alright. Wow. Millions! If they are truly ladybugs, maybe you'll never need to worry about plant pests again. Could it be that their population numbers will go down after they finish eating every insect in sight next year?

MY ladybugs don't leave any trails or lady bug poop--at least not so's I've noticed. And I refuse to smash one to see how it smells. I love the little Coleopterans!

Good luck, though,


-- jumpoffjoe (, October 30, 2000.

Yall got me interested in more info. Since this was in PDF, I copied it, in case someone can't open PDF files, as I couldn't before getting my new iMAC. Do your asian ladybugs have the telltale "m" on their pronotums? I

Description In 1994 a new ladybug appeared in New Hampshire. It is known to scientists as Harmonia axyridis (Pallas). Now this insect is common in all of the New England states. It is highly variable in ap-pearance. Most specimens in New Hampshire are orange to reddish orange (sometimes tan) with black spots on their wing covers. There can be as many as 18 spots or as few as zero. Since the background color and number of spots is variable, identification is easier when you look at the pronotum. ThatBs the part of the back directly behind the head. It is usually whitish with black marks that form the shape of a capital M. Larvae of this species are similar to other ladybug larvae. They remind many people of alligators (except for the color!). For this species, the larva is mostly black. It has rows of Y shaped tubercles on its back. Some tubercles are orange, and some are black. Background Scientists believe these insects reached the United States as stowaways on ship(s). The first U.S. discov-ery was in the New Orleans area in 1988. Its most rapid spread was to the Northeast, possibly arriving in New Hampshire in the fall of 1993. The beetle was the subject of a biological control program in the U.S. and Canada in the 1970Bs. It was intentionally released because of its value in eating aphids and other insects. None of the intentional releases was successful. No survivors were found after a few months. This insect is very beneficial as a predator of aphids and other small soft bodied insects (whiteflies, for example). It spends a lot of time in trees. We are finding it commonly in apple orchards, corn fields, crops of melons, peppers and tomatoes, as well as in ornamental trees like tulip tree. The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer. University of New Hampshire, U.S. Department of Agriculture and N.H. counties cooperating. Insect Fact Sheet Multicolored Asian Ladybug BHalloween LadybugB 9

-- jumpoffjoe (, October 30, 2000.

I am all for the "Hoover" method of control myself. Doesn't hurt the environment or me. How those things get in the house I'll never figure out but they do and they prefer my bedroom, maybe because it's on the south side. I don't like having them fall off the ceiling at night in bed with me or having them fall in food. They do stink and are a real nuicanse. If it were only a few maybe I could live with them but we are talking thousands! My Hoover method doesn't seem to hurt their populations any because every year there are as many as the year before!

-- bwilliams (, October 31, 2000.

Well, I've had these pests now for six years and I hate them!I am allergic to them. My eyes swell up, I sneeze and cough and I think it is terrible that when my small grandchildren visit me I can't even put them on the floor to crawl, for fear they would eat one of these dreadful things. There are millions in the fall and they stay till around April. I don't believe they only like white houses. I live in a log house that is a dark color and they love it.We are building a new house this summer and selling this one. Hopefully, we will be able to seal the new one good enough so they can't get in like in this log house. I loved my home after it was built, but now I hate it because the lady bugs love it.

-- Cathy Bolyard (, February 26, 2001.

They're gross, disgusting, smelly things. I use anything I have to get rid of them. I live in a very old farmhouse with countless places for the things to hide. Hey,they must reproduce in the house cause we got little ones coming out of wherever. They love the south side of my house and my bathroom which is white. We vacuum constanty...then the vacuum cleaner smells disgusting! The smell of them makes me physically ill. Oh, I get angry! (I'd say pissed off, but that is not in good taste.)LOL!

-- Ardie from WI (, February 27, 2001.

We have an invasion of them here started about three years ago. I vaccum them up by the 100's...they drop off the ceiling onto us, fall into our plates while we eat, we have aching necks from scanning the ceilings.. they may beneficial to some people but they are not welcome here.

-- Lynn(MO) (, February 27, 2001.

Ole Jeep found a way to deal with'm. He SCOOPS'm up on his back porch and throws'm in his outside woodstove. Talk about'm burn'n hot! Kinda hard on'm but then again-he don't have to worry about those again! Stinky, bit'n little raskels. Mammary glands [tits] on a boar are more useful than these little critters. Luke 6:31

-- hoot (, February 27, 2001.

I have these beetles in my cottage in Michigan. I hate them. My whole house is very light, with all white trim. They started last fall, but I still have them this winter. Contrary to everyone elses stories, they are mostly on the north side of my house, on two of our large windows. What a mess. Their little trails are all over my brand new white trim. We are in the process of caulking everything, but now I am worried, because I hadn't heard about the smell before now. I know one thing for sure, I am not going to waste any money on an exterminator. I spend hours vacuuming, just to find them again in the same places within a few minutes. It is driving me crazy. The exterminators here in Michigan are all too willing to come and spray, but they don't say that it will not do any good.

-- Brigitte Barnhart (, April 04, 2001.

I'm in Detroit, Michigan. I have no crops for these [insert expletive here] bugs to eat and so have absolutely no use for them. Every warm day, they fly amongst us -- even though I vacuum a hundred or so off my window on a near hourly basis. They're in my hair, they bite my kids (5 months, 2.5 years, and 5 years), my wife and myself. They literally stink though I have only recently begun squishing the damn things (releasing them outside only allows them the opportunity to come back in my house -- from now on no mercy; this is war baby); my wife has taken to washing the curtains every day and buying new ones on a weekly basis.

I'm at my wits end. I've caulked, foamed, sealed and waxed every crevice I can find -- I'm beginning to think they can walk through walls. I'm getting the people to hermetically seal my house next month. Sure, I won't be able to go outside ever again, but that freedom thing's a small price to pay to have these things out of my life.

Incidentally, I've started reading Revelations in the bible; I've had no luck finding mention of swarms of beetles as a sign of the apocalypse, but I'm not giving up the search...

-- Kenn Guilstorf (, January 22, 2002.

We had swarms of Aisan lady bugs both indoors & out when we lived in Oregon. I don't know what they ate but they never touched the aphids. We also had, the last 5 yrs or so, an increasing invasion of box elder beetles. Fortunately, neither one live up in the mountains with us. We only see them when we go down into the valley. Now we have to put up with stink bugs. Yecch.

-- Bonnie (, January 22, 2002.

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