Ladybugs, Ladybugs, Everywhere - A Guide to Prevention
Each fall, many homeowners experience the nuisance of thousands of swarming ladybugs looking for shelter in homes and out buildings. As they try to find a place where they can hibernate during the winter, ladybugs often congregate on outside windows, doors, porches, and decks, and sometimes even get inside of houses!
If you have experienced the nuisance of a ladybug infestation, rest assured that these beetles do not bite, sting, or carry human diseases, nor feed on wood, clothing, or food. They also do not reproduce indoors and are actually harmless to humans. In fact, lady beetles, as they are often known, are quite beneficial to agriculture and gardens. Ladybugs feed on harmful aphids and scale insects associated with trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers, and many agriculture crops. Even with their known benefits, housing unwanted visitors in the fall can still be a problem for homeowners.
The best way to handle a lady beetle infestation in your home is through prevention. Ladybugs enter through cracks around windows, doors, siding, pipes, and other openings. If ladybugs are able to enter your home, it indicates your seals are failing, which also allows cold air to enter in the winter and warm air in through the summer. This decreases the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, as well as offers safe harbor for insects. To prevent this, be sure to check around all windows and doors. Fill in any cracks with caulk and repair damaged window or door screens. For lady beetles already in your house, you may use a broom and dustpan and/or a vacuum cleaner to collect them. Place them under a bush or other protected area well away from your home, but perhaps near your garden. Specialized ladybug traps designed to house them can also be used. These insects will be invaluable to your garden and flowers next year, so try not to harm them. Lastly, keep in mind that any problems you are having with swarming ladybugs will be solved once the cold winter weather arrives. Keep lady beetles from invading your home with simple precautionary measures.