Multicolored Asian lady beetles are on the rise

By: 
DONNA SUMMMERALL
Staff Writer

Each year around Halloween as the seasons change and temperatures begin to decline from the cooler temperatures of fall to colder temperatures of winter, homes will soon be under attack by multicolored Asian lady beetles.

"They are often confused with lady bugs" BJ McClenton, MSU Extension Agent II for Clay County said. "Multicolor Asian Lady Beetles are not native to the U.S but have become well-established throughout most of the country and the southeast, they are our most abundant lady beetle species."

McClenton said usually around the first frost of the year is when these lady beetles congregate around window seals as they try to enter the home to hibernate for the winter.
"Soffit and gable vents in home attics are common entry points for the beetles," McClenton said. "But they will come in any way they can. Window and door seals, cracks and any other crevices are all entry points for lady beetles seeking warmth. They are especially attracted to light colored buildings, and buildings that are not properly sealed."

Most homeowners who face problems with multicolored Asian lady beetles live in wooded areas, as they feed on tree dwelling aphids, white flies, small caterpillars and other pests, which makes them beneficial during summer months. However, when the beetles are indoors, they serve no good purpose and become pests themselves. They can bite and be a nuisance to pets as well as being unsightly and cause odor once they die, according to MSUES.

McClenton said if homeowners have been plagued by this pest in the past, now is the time to prevent multicolor Asian lady beetles and other pests from entering your home again this fall. "Unfortunately, there are just not many reliable methods of chemical control to rid your home of these pests," McClenton said. "And once they have been exterminated they still leave quite the mess and more will come. Therefore physical exclusion is the best treatment to prevent lady beetles from entering your home."

According to Blake Layton, Mississippi State University Extension Entomologist, homeowners can apply residual sprays of synthetic pyrethroid insecticides to exterior areas of invasion-prone buildings to reduce the number of beetles that successfully enter the building. These treatments are most beneficial on buildings that have too many potential entry points to effectively seal. Where sealing is practical, it is far more effective than relying on insecticides, and it can also conserve energy.

Layton said when sealing, install sweeps on door bottoms and metal spring strips or weather stripping around door jambs to keep pests from entering at these points. A caulking or foam sealant can be used to seal entry points around plumbing and cracks in brickwork and woodwork.
In addition to biting humans and our pets, Asian beetles excrete an unpleasant odor from their legs when threatened. The yellow fluid that often accompanies this odor can also stain walls and fabric.  For more information on controlling lady beetles and other home invading insects from getting into your home or buildings contact the MSU Extension Service at 662-494-5371.

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