Ladybirds are colorful insects common in yards during warm months. They are natural predators to other insects including aphids, mealy bugs, small caterpillars and mites. Unfortunately when fall comes, ladybugs can invade your home for a place to spend their winter. Let’s find out if they are poisonous and how to control them.
Most of the popular lady beetles that currently exist in the United States were purposefully brought as a form of natural pest control. This include the orange ladybug also known as Asian lady beetle. These multicolored bugs are attractive to look at and some cultures even perceive ladybugs as good luck.
Ladybugs feed on plants pests such as aphids, mealybugs and small caterpillars. Majority of these colorful insects are harmless to humans as they don’t bite nor spread any disease. However, orange ladybugs create some health concerns.
The main problem with ladybugs is when they crawl in large numbers along your windows and walls as they search for food or entry into your home. Ladybugs infestation is common in fall (September to November) when the season begins to cool. Homes near woods and agriculture fields are the most infested.
Are orange ladybugs poisonous?
Ladybugs come in variety of species in a range of colors from yellow, pink, orange, red or black and often have distinctive spots. Orange ladybugs also called Asian lady beetles looks like the rest of ladybugs but are larger in size. Majority of Asian lady beetles have black spots on their shell while few have none.
You can identify Asian lady beetles from other multicolored ladybugs by looking at a clear black ‘M’-shaped marking behind its head. Most of them also have larger white marks on their head as compared to the other ladybugs.
In search for moisture or food, orange ladybugs can bite and break human skin leading to a minor discomfort. In fall they congregate in large numbers on your outdoor areas or walls trying to get their way into your home. This presents a serious nuisance to most families.
Asian lady beetles can release unpleasant odor similar to stink bugs. This is happens when they are disturbed or crushed. Additionally, they can secrete yellowish liquid that stains fabric and other surfaces. When ingested by pets (dogs), orange ladybugs can cause severe gastrol upsets.
Ladybugs can also turn into pests when they run out of their favorite food such as aphids. They will move to fall-ripening fruit such as grapes, apples and fall raspberries. They will make holes in the ripe fruits to enjoy the juice.
Are ladybugs attracted to light?
You can introduce ladybugs into your garden to help in controlling plant pests or they can come naturally on their own from other regions. There are few things that can attract lady beetles in your yard.
Bright outdoor lighting – Like most outdoor bugs, ladybugs are also attracted to bright outdoor lights. You might have seen hundreds of bugs swarming around your porch light. Majority of flying bugs use light for navigation as they search for food and warmth.
Attractive plants – As a way of blending with nature or hiding from predators, ladybugs love colorful plants and flowers. To attract lady beetles to your garden, plant marigolds, sunflowers, dahlias, tansies, daisies, cosmos, Calendula asters and Coreopsis among others.
How to stop ladybugs from entering your home
Ladybugs can hibernate to survive winter season. However, they will not choose this option if there is a nearby rescue center (your home). Fortunately, there are a number of ways to control these colorful lady beetles from entering your home.
1. Close all the access points
Cracks and openings into your doors, roof or windows can invite ladybugs into your home. Ensure that you have closed all these access points to deny bugs entry. Let your doors and windows remain closed most of the time when bugs are active.
2. Reduce or replace your outdoor lights
Bright lighting attracts all manner of bugs in your yard. One way of preventing ladybugs from your property is to reduce the amount of lighting on your porch or use yellow light. Most bugs are disinterested in yellow light as they cannot clearly see it.
3. Install bug screens and curtains
It may not be a good idea to close your doors and windows throughout. Curtains or screens will allow in some fresh air and light from outside while also stopping bugs from entering your home. Screens around your porch or enclosed patio will also help in creating a peaceful place for evening relaxation without interruption from bugs.
4. Keep your yard kempt
Overgrown lawn grass, tree branches and debris are perfect areas where most bugs hide. Mow your lawns short, cut overgrown tree branches around your home and collect all sorts of debris in your yard to keep away ladybugs and other stubborn insects.
5. Remove standing water in your yard
Standing water in a yard is usually a source of many problems. Mosquitoes, gnats, ladybugs and many others love stagnant water as this is where they breed from. Driving away standing water in yard and removing water-retaining containers like birdbaths, old tires and open cans to reduce bugs population in your yard.
How to get Rid of Ladybugs
When your home is infested with ladybugs, there are few things you can do to remove them.
Vacuum the ladybugs
A vacuum can safely suck ladybugs for safe disposal in a forest or somewhere far away from your home. When vacuuming ladybugs, be careful not to crush them as their stench can easily attract others. Their body fluid can stain your surfaces.
Remove their food supply
Ladybugs love feeding on other small insects and in some cases ripe fruits. Removing their source of food will discourage them and they will eventually migrate to a different place where there is plenty of food.
Use an insecticide
Although not a good option for the sake of other beneficial insects, spraying insecticide will kill ladybugs infesting your home. Read and follow product instructions and always use away from children and pets.
Contact pest control agencies
Reach out to any pest control agency in your location for appropriate action. They can decide to safely trap all the ladybugs or exterminate them.
Ladybugs are important part of our ecosystem as they also serve as food for other wildlife. In agriculture and gardening, they help in controlling plant pests naturally. Although not poisonous, lady beetles can become nuisance when they start coming into your home. Fortunately, you can control them as per our recommendations in this guide.