CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — If you’ve been sitting out on your porch over the past few days, you may have noticed a significant uptick in ladybug-like insects.
According to WVU Extention, you might not be seeing swarms of ladybugs, but their cousins, the Asian lady beetle. These beetles have a similar appearance to ladybugs but have a more yellow-orange color and can spawn with or without black spots on their wings.
These bugs, as the name implies, are initially from Asia but migrated over to the U.S. as early as 1916 when entomologists imported and released the insects into the wild to deal with other pests. They also arrived by accident through international shipping with the earliest known population being found in 1988 near New Orleans. Since then, they have spread across most of the U.S. and typically swarm in the fall as they prepare to overwinter—an act similar to hibernation—according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Like its ladybug cousin, Asian lady beetles are mostly harmless and will only bite on rare occasions. However, they can be a nuisance to your walls and furniture. When agitated or killed, the Asian lady beetle secretes a fluid that can stain walls and fabrics, according to WVU Extension. The beetles also emit an unpleasant odor that is used to attract other bugs to its location.
The Asian lady beetle is typically attracted to brightly-colored houses and will gather in areas that reflect the afternoon sun. Rest assured that while these bugs may like your white or yellow house, they won’t cause any structural damage like termites do.
So how do you get rid of them? WVU Extension says that if these bugs have invaded your house, the best idea is to vacuum any ones you see up. This gets rid of their ability to create pheromones in your house and keeps them from harming your walls or fabrics. Be sure to also dump out your vacuum canister when you’re finished to prevent any surviving beetles from escaping.
As far as chemical control goes, WVU Extension says that killing the beetles with typical insecticides is mostly ineffective due to their ability to hide out of reach. The use of large-scale aerosols or “bug bombs” is also ineffective and can create other problems as smaller scavenging insects may be attracted to the dead bodies.
If you’re lucky enough to not have seen a swarm of the beetles yet, you can prep by sealing entrances to your house with insecticides like cypermethrin and cyfluthrin.