The Q&A Archives: Infestation Of Black And Red Bugs

Question: For the past 2 weeks I have had hundreds of black and red bugs all over the front of my home. My friend said they came from boxwoods, which I sprayed without positive results. They can fly, and often do, right in my face! None of the neighbors are having this problem although they all seem to know of people who have experienced these pests. I thought they would be gone in a day or two, but the numbers have been dwindling gradually as colder temperatures have arrived. Help! What are they, and how can I get rid of them?

Answer: It's difficult to tell because of your description, but the bugs in question might be Asian ladybugs. They differ from the standard ladybugs in that the imported type are cliff-dwellers. Resident ladybugs usually hibernate during the winter months in the foothills on trees and stumps. Asian ladybugs prefer to hibernate on cliffs. Your house looks like a flat-sided cliff to them. So, when the weather gets cool, they congregate on the sides of your house, up near the eaves, where they are protected. As the outdoor temperatures get colder, they sense the warmth coming from the walls and attic space, squeeze in, and happily spend the winter months in a warm, protected environment. When their internal clocks tell them it's spring, it's time to wake up and fly away, they forget how they got in and try to get out in any way possible. That's why they appear in vents and ceiling fixtures and even electrical outlets. You can sweep them up and send them outdoors, or vacuum them up and empty the bag outdoors. They can be a nuisance inside, but they're really beneficial in the garden, so just shoo them out when they appear.

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