The Q&A Archives: Beetles

Question: This winter and still going, a small beetle similar to a lady bug but a little bigger and more rust colored than bright red has invaded our home. They crawl around on the ceiling and walls, but haven't as yet seen them on any house plants. Don't know what they are or if harmfull, saw them on the leaves underside neare a rock garden with iris's. Are they a good beetle, or do we need to start a major fumigation process?

Answer: It sounds as though your home has been invaded by Asian Lady Beetles. They differ from the standard Lady Beetle in color and size, and most importantly in habit! All Lady Beetles are beneficial insects. The Asian, or Imported Lady Beetle, came here because of the demand for beneficials that could be released in gardens. Our Lady Beetles hibernate in the winter by flying to higher elevations and grouping together on old stumps in forested areas. The Asian Lady Beetles are cliff-dwellers and seek high places to hibernate. They often choose the sides of houses, because of the similarity to cliffs. As they congregate outside, some of them sense the warmth coming through cracks from the inside of the house, and they squeeze through between siding, and vents to warmer places. They end up in the walls and ceilings of homes where it's perpetually springlike. After a while they start wandering around the house looking for food, or trying to get outdoors. Since these guys are beneficial (outdoors, not in!), try to gather them and send them out. Some people vacuum them up, others sweep them out the doors and windows. This summer you might want to caulk or patch anything that might allow the Lady Bugs access to your walls or attic spaces. Use old nylon stockings over the vents of your house, and caulk between the siding or windowsills and framing to keep them out.

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