All About Asian Lady Beetles
We’re lucky in Florida for a lot of reasons. We have great weather, a great climate, and a stunning array of biodiversity… It’s great to be a Floridian. Another reason it’s so nice to live here is – We can grow as many fruit trees and roses as we want. Why? Well, fertile soil, warmth, and (mostly) agreeable weather have something to do with it. One other contributor you might not realize is that a major pest (The Asian Lady Beetles) has failed to establish itself here.
The Japanese Beetle has established itself in most gulf coast states, but Florida seems uniquely resistant. Why is that? It may have something to do with Florida’s own super predators. So today, let’s learn about Lady Beetles and Ladybugs.
Is There a Difference Between Lady Beetles and Ladybugs?
Yes! Though both of these bugs are insects and are, in fact, in the same family… They are quite different. Ladybugs are native to Florida. They eat aphids, scale insects, beetle larvae, moth eggs… They gobble up all the things we don’t like. Asian Lady Beetles, meanwhile, is not a native. It was imported to bust aphids in the 1900s and has thrived ever since.
Lady Beetles tend to be more aggressive and eat more pests each day, making them valuable tools. However, in colder months, they can become a problem. An additional difference is that Lady Beetles have an M-shaped mark on the black and white part of their body.
Are Lady Beetles a Pest?
They can be. You probably know their reputation for landing on you out of the blue and starting to bite. This is probably a startling response. They didn’t expect to smack into you, so they get scared. This isn’t what makes them a pest, though. What makes them a pest is the way they congregate during cold months.
Lady Beetles and Cold
Cold-blooded animals like Asian Lady Beetles need to do something during the cold months. Since they’re so tiny, it would be very difficult to migrate away from the cold weather. Most insects enter something like torpor and slow way down until warm months come back. This includes our native ladybugs if you’d believe it.
Asian Lady Beetles, however, gather in huge groups and swarm light-colored buildings when the weather gets cold. When they’re attached to your home, they’ll be looking for a way in, and if your home is warmer than the outside air, you can bet they’ll find one. Attics, vents, and more are fair game to these insects.
And they come in numbers. Huge numbers. It is not uncommon for Asian Lady Beetle swarms to number 15,000 strong. Imagine that – 15,000 beetles waking up in June and July and swarming your home… Bouncing off of your TV, landing in your coffee… It’s not a great thing to imagine.
Even worse, they won’t stop at a chilly attic or crawl space. If they can get further inside, searching for food, warmth, and water, they will. This is where things take a turn for the ugly. People who see them everywhere might start squashing them or trying to vacuum them up. This causes them to secrete a stinky yellow fluid that stains deeply.
What to Do About Asian Lady Beetles
Seal up your home! Install fine mesh around your vents, close cracks, and get decent weather stripping. You can also treat your home against insects. You can visit our website to learn more about how pests get into your home… Or call us today if you suspect you’ve got an Asian Lady Beetle problem brewing.