lady bug type bugs : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I thing there was a thread before about this, not sure (another senior moment), any way, does anyone know what those bugs, that look like lady bugs are called. They are not as red a lady bugs and are all over the inside and outside of the house.

Also, without using chemicals, is there a way to get rid of them. I vacumned them a spayed them with diluted Basic H but I would have to do nothing but vacumn and spray. There seems to be a never ending stream of them.

I neighbor down the road said these are box elder bugs but I have no box elders.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

-- Cordy (, October 22, 2001


We have zillion of those little critters too!! There hasn't been a day in the past couple weeks that I don't feel them crawling on and in my clothes! It's driving me nuts!! I finally stopped hanging clothes on the line. The only news I've heard about them is bad - no one has found anything that will get rid of them. We've even had a hard frost and that only seemed to make them worse.

-- Stacey (, October 22, 2001.

If there was a way to get rid of the little $%#^&$ds without using chemicals somoone would make a million! We have them every fall and they stink, literally! And they're disgusting! I hate to do it but we use chemicals. We bomb the basement and home and spray the outside of the house around the windows, doors and foundation. AND, they still keep coming! We vacuum and sweep them up every day. AARRRRGGGGH!

-- Ardie from WI (, October 22, 2001.

Sorry guys, I'll likely make no friends with my comments, but I still like the Lady Bugs, even though every year for the past 5 or so we've had masses of them come to visit in October. They don't seem so bad this year. I don't think we have as many as in years past.

I think it was last year my husband took out his lunch at work. I had made him a nice Ham Italian Sandwich. On his first bite he bit into a lady bug! He said he felt the bug in his mouth, but assumed initially that it was a black olive or some such thing. He couldn't finish his lunch after that first bite. :)

My 14 year old daughter has been having lots of fun with them this past week. She's been shooting them with a rubber band. She's not sure yet if a direct hit kills them or just stuns them. We have so many and they're hard to find after a rubber band sends them flying across the room. More scientific experiments will be needed to be conducted before we can conclusively say one way or another.

I had assumed that they were seeking suitable places to hole up for the winter, since outside you can find clusters of Lady Bugs under old boards and other such hiding places. Maybe someone can invent a Lady Bug winter home sometime, along similar lines as a bird house or bat house, or even a bee hive.

Anyway, I still think they're cute.

-- Nancy in Maine (, October 22, 2001.

Without using chemicals, I think the vacuum cleaner is your best bet. We have been using a yard stick with an end covered in tape to get the ones that we can't reach otherwise.

I've been told that these are some type of Japanese beetles that were deliberately introduced and got out of control. They don't bite but do pinch, which is just as annoying.

Tried spraying them with a solution of laundry detergent & water, which worked pretty well...also had a lot of success using Sevin XLR, but there's so many of them you have to keep at it.

-- Reghan (, October 22, 2001.

We have them inside and there were lots outside on our large covered front deck/porch. We hung four fly strips on the porch and the next day they were covered with the bugs. Inside the bedroom they seem to congregate in a corner, use duct tape to get them or a vacume cleaner. I'm gone to try some fly strips from the bedroom ceiling and see how many I can get.

-- Bruce Burdge (, October 22, 2001.

Nancy, these are NOT lady bugs. Similar but there shell is orangey (I think) than red, and some have no spots at all.

Fly strips are a great idea, thanks.

My husband had said that they are Japanese bettles but then this famrer neighbor said they were Box Elder beetles, I do know they are not lady bugs.

And yes, they do bite and crawl over everything.

-- Cordy (, October 22, 2001.

They are Asian ladybeetles and are a pain in the posterior! They descended on us this past weekend and were flying in our faces and all over the house. They mass in the fall to seek winter shelter and then re-amass in the spring to leave that shelter (ie. your home). Don't squish them in spots you don't want to leave a greenish stain. I'm going to try that fly strip idea, thanks!

-- Susan (, October 22, 2001.

I just found a pretty informative site on the ladybugs. Go to

There are photos, Q & A's, you can even purchase some if you don't have enough! :)

I learned that there are over 500 species of ladybug. I think whoever said these are the asian ladybug must be right. At least that's what mine looks like. I still think they're cute, but then again I haven't had one pinch or bite me yet.

-- Nancy in Maine (, October 22, 2001.

They are Asian Beetles and somehow we got them like we got the Japense Beetles. They are looking for a warm place to spend the winter. If your house isn't very tight get used to them.

-- Mel Kelly (, October 22, 2001.

Thanks to everyone who responded.

Just hope we do not find extra protein in our meals.

-- Cordy (, October 22, 2001.

They are asain ladybeetles, and the littles monsters pinched me in my sleep in bed.

-- Sherrie R. Clifton (, October 22, 2001.

they seem to like the bug light. our neighbor got around 10 quarts out of his bedroom. we've been using the sticky fly strips, vaccum and bug zapper light. The "bugs" are winning.

Tomorrow were going to meet with the ag agent he said he has some natural killer powder. I'll let ya know what he says.

-- Kenneth in N.C. (, October 22, 2001.

They are not ladybugs, as we know them, and they do bite. They are not supposed to breed indoors (is that any comfort?) but are looking for a place to hole up. We're assuming they're actually part of a terrorist plot to drive the entire country insane.

-- Rosalie (, October 22, 2001.

Thanks, Nancy, for the ladybug site. I have the Asian Ladybug and they are good critters. This is what the site had to say about their eating habits:

An adult is capable of consuming 90 to 270 aphids per day, and each larva can consume 600 to 1,200 aphids during its development.

So if you have gardens, it'd be better to catch them and throw them back in the mulch. I hate aphids!!!

Grins, Diane

-- Diane in MO (, October 22, 2001.

"According to Hollingsworth, a number of times between 1978 to 1981, the U.S. Department of Agriculture attempted to introduce the multicolored Asian lady beetle Harmonia axyridis (H.a.) to the eastern United States. It was hoped the beetles would help to control aphids and scales, including the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, a pest currently plaguing the Northeast. Harmonia axyridis was not observed again, however, until 1988, in Louisiana. The 10-year lag, says Hollingsworth, between release and recovery indicates that perhaps USDA's efforts did not succeed and that the introduction of the beetles to Louisiana was an "accidental" one, possibly from an Asian ship.

Hollingsworth says that last year, sitings of H.a. were made all along the Atlantic coast, up into Maine and Canada. The beetles were also found in the Pacific Northwest, especially in Oregon, and they were also detected on a planeload of Christmas trees bound for Hawaii.

"Last year, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture received 100 calls in one day about swarms of lady beetles," says Hollingsworth. "In Massachusetts, we also recorded sitings from the Berkshires to the Cape."

The beetles, which have no native natural enemies, have increased their numbers during the summer months. Now that the days are becoming shorter, and the weather cooler, Hollingsworth explains, they are seeking sheltered sites for overwintering. As one beetle finds an appropriate site, it will emit what's called an "aggregating pheromone," or a chemical which attracts other beetles.

"I've observed most of them on sunny days in southern exposures," says Hollingsworth. "If the ladybugs find entry to a house, they're likely to exploit it, gathering a mass of dozens to thousands of beetles. They'll stay through the winter, without feeding, and when the weather warms, they'll disperse."

What to do about the tiny beetles? Hollingsworth advises that homeowners start by sealing up all the cracks in their home's foundation or siding. He doesn't recommend sweeping the ladybugs. "They're 'reflex bleeders' -- when disturbed, they bleed from their joints -- and their blood smells bad," he says. "Vacuum them up instead. If you use a clean vacuum bag, you can store them in a cool spot like an unheated shed or garage, and let them go in the spring. They'll help control aphids and scale in trees."

"A neat thing about these beetles," says Hollingsworth, "is that they're multicolored. Usually, you can identify a ladybug to species by its color and spot pattern. But not these. You find yellow and orange beetles, without spots, or with up to as many as 19 spots."

-- Dave (, October 22, 2001.

The key thing to me about these critters is that they are an introduced exotic without native controls to their gypsy moth, zebra mussel, kudzu etc. They become too much of a bad or good thing depending on your perspective. Gypsy moth was brought here to make silk after all. I bet the asian ladybeetles outcompete and bump native ladybugs out of their niche in the ecosystem. While survival of the fittest is all well and good, I kind of prefer the little red native ladybugs that didn't take over my whole house! I think I'll use a half full of dust vacuum bag and be done with them :)

-- Susan (, October 22, 2001.

This maybe urban legend and it is definitely hearsay, but a friend told me years ago (we first dealt with these meanies in '95) that these asian ladybugs overwinter in white cliffs in their native habitat and that is why they are attracted to white houses. Whether or not this is true I did talk to a friend today whose neighbor's white house is covered in them and his barn red house isn't. I'm thinking that whoever does the research on what color these guys aren't attracted to could sell it to Sherwin Williams for a mint. I'm thinking of trying a medium gray blue on my place and hoping for the best.

Never have been bit by one, maybe I don't taste too good...

-- gilly (, October 22, 2001.

Interesting stuff this ladybug banter. I've been looking for answers ever since we seem to have adopted an entire swarm of them. My house, which is beige, nearly white, seems to be the only one infested. We sucked up at least 400 of them the other day. I've heard that area farmers may have introduced them to help with the crops. I'm amazed at how small a crack they can squeeze through. I thought my brand-new house was pretty tight. Wrong. I'd like to hear more about theories for colors they are attracted to.

-- John (, October 23, 2001.

Never knew there were so many varities of Lady Bugs! Facinating.

Now, if they are drawn to lighter colors, I wonder what would happen if you painted rooms darker. Not that we would, just curious. Would they then look for a way out of that room.

Another thought. Is there something we can put around the doors and windows, some herb (scent) that would distract them? And if so, would that work indoors.

They say mint repels ants so there must be something for these little ladies (a I am sure a gent or two).

-- Cordy (, October 23, 2001.

Forwarded bounced message....from MSU Extension

Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 12:12:48 -0400 From: Darren Bagley To: Tom J Kaminski Subject: Myths and Facts on Ladybird Beetles

Hopefully this will clear up the information and misinformation on ladybird beetles (aka ladybugs). I have provided university references for the answers to the many questions.

1. Is there a superabundance of ladybird beetles in 2001? There were extremely large populations produced in 2000/2001 all across the Great Lakes Region. (from Tom Ellis; MSU Entomologist)

2. Why are there so many? There was an enormous population explosion of the ladybugs principal prey, the aphid. The reason for this was because weather conditions were perfect for aphid reproduction and survival during the summer of 2000. So, lots of food for the Asian ladybug produced tremendous number of ladybugs by summers end. (from Tom Ellis; MSU Entomologist)

3. Do they have spots? What color are they? Color variants found in the United States are different shades of yellow, orange, or red, either with or without black spots on the wing covers. Some have 19 black spots while others have faded spots that vary in number and size. A good web site for identification (with color pictures) is at

4. Where did they come from? Were they intentionally released? By who? The multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) is native to Asia but occurs in many areas of the United States. This beneficial insect was imported and released as early as 1916 in attempts to naturally control certain insect pests. But the first populations were not found in this country until 1988 in Louisiana near the busy port of New Orleans. Over the years, federal, state and private entomologists released the insect at a number of locations. But it was not detected in these places until some years after it had became established in Louisiana. In addition, accidental entries have occurred via imported nursery items at ports in Delaware and South Carolina. Thus, it is uncertain whether the beetle's establishment resulted from planned releases, accidental entries or both. from

5. Do they bite people and/or livestock? The Asian ladybug might take a nip out of your finger if handled. If you

get nipped, clean and treat bite with an antibiotic as a precaution against a secondary infection. There have been a couple of cases of allergies linked to Asian ladybugs. The patients experienced itchy eyes, sneezing, congestion and a runny nose. from Tom Ellis, MSU entomologist Although an uncommon occurrence, multicolored Asian lady beetles have been reported to nibble, nip, or "bite" humans. These lady beetles are not aggressive toward humans, and they simply may be examining an unfamiliar substrate or they may be seeking moisture. Their occasional nibbling is not reported to break the skin or draw human blood.

6. Do they eat plants and/or fruit? Yes, this has been documented. It is unclear whether they are damaging the fruit directly, or simply taking advantages of wounds already in the fruit. For more information, see the MSU Fruit CAT Alert at

7. Do they have natural predators/parasites? Do they taste bad? If agitated or squashed, the beetles may exhibit a defensive reaction known as "reflex bleeding," in which a yellow fluid with an unpleasant odor is released from leg joints. This reaction generally prevents predators, such a birds, from eating lady beetles. from In 1993, North Carolina Department of Agriculture researchers documented substantial levels of parasitism (14.2%) of the multicolored Asian lady beetle by a tachinid fly. However, parasitism levels subsequently dropped to an average of 2 to 4% from 1994 through 1999 in North Carolina (C.A. Nalepa & K.A. Kidd, personal communication), suggesting that this parasitoid does not cause significant mortality of multicolored Asian lady beetles. from

8. What harm, if any, do they do to the environment? Hence, there is some controversy regarding the origins of this nonnative species. Nonetheless, the multicolored Asian lady beetle is now well established in the United States, where it currently thrives in many parts of the Midwest, East, South, and Northwest. This nonnative species appears to be displacing some of our native lady beetles in Ohio.

9. Are they crossbreeding with native ladybird beetles? I have not found any references to that in the literature

10. What do the native ones look like? There are some pictures of native ladybird beetles at Iowa State University at

11. Does any survey keep track of insect populations in the state? I do not know of a statewide survey of all insects. Michigan State University Extension is collecting data on the nuisance ladybird beetle calls they are receiving this year in the county MSUE offices. The MSU Extension CAT alert system also keeps track of pests that may potentially damage agriculture and/or the green industry. You can view CAT alerts at The Michigan Natural Features Inventory keeps track of threatened and endangered species. You can visit them at

12. Do they harm clothing or structures? An orange liquid is expelled when Asian ladybugs are crushed. This fluid can stain some surfaces and fabrics. From Tom Ellis, MSU Entomologist Lady beetles are not structure-damaging pests, unlike insects such as termites and carpenter ants. Lady beetles do not chew or bore holes in walls or eat carpet or furniture. They do not lay their eggs in homes. from

-- TomK(mich) (, October 23, 2001.

Our bathroom is blue and there are about 1oo's in there.

-- Kenneth in N.C. (, October 26, 2001.

We are getting some fly strips this week and will put them up. It has been nippy here in IL this week, and windy so maybe they will cre ep into the walls or where ever they are coming from and we won't see them.

I am glad to know that they will not breed over the winter. Who needs millions of them in and around the house.

How come are reg. lady bugs do not congregate like that?

-- Cordy (, October 26, 2001.

I have no answer. We have sprayed the house with kitchen dish soap. They attack us, leave ugly orange stains on the walls, curtains, you name it. We have caulked the windows in our old house, taped them, sealed them. These little bugs drive us crazy.

-- Gail (, February 17, 2002.

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