Question: Should I expect another ladybug invasion this fall?
Answer: Ladybugs are like the IRS. Once they get your number, they will haunt you forever. In their native Asian land, ladybugs overwinter in rock cliffs. Obviously, there is something about your house that reminds them of a rock cliff. Researchers speculate it may be reflected light of some specific wavelength. Maybe it is heat or lack of and “ADT” sticker on your door. Whatever it is, it catches their attention every year. The weather and their populations fluctuate from year to year. These fluctuations are the only things that keep us from being totally bombarded annually.
When it comes to ladybugs in our house, we are often caught in a dilemma. We don’t want bugs in our house. We surely don’t want hundreds of bugs in our house making clicking sounds as they bounce off the light fixtures at night. Yet, ladybugs are “beneficial” insects. Not only do they eat bad bugs like aphids, they are cute. Everybody also knows it is bad karma to hit a “lady,” even if she is a bug.
Most homeowners try to be nice to the first couple hundred ladybugs. Parents and children gently catch and release them outdoors. After a while, parents wait until the kids go to bed. Then they break out the vacuum cleaner and “clean” house.
Besides being perpetual victims, I have some more bad news. Now there is another Asian bug looking for a winter home. This insect is called the Kudzu bug. Like the Asian ladybug, this pest will come in large numbers. It will congregate inside and outside your windows.
Unlike the ladybug, this insect is not beneficial and isn’t even cute. It feeds on soybeans and other plants. It also doesn’t have a cuddly name. Nobody likes kudzu. Therefore, don’t even pretend to be nice. Of course, if you can prevent them entering the house, you have won the battle. When they breech the perimeter, break out the vacuum cleaner right off the bat. Spraying insecticides have not been particularly useful in stopping this pest.
For more info on ladybugs visit http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Other/goodpest/note107.html For more info on kudzu bugs visit http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Urban/kudzubug.htm If you do not have internet access, then call 910-893-7530 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ladybugs have the personality of a cat. They don’t want to be rubbed, except when you are trying to eat or watch tv. They get in the house when you’re not looking. When they get in the house, they sit by the window and try to get back outside.
Gary Pierce, Horticulture Agent
Harnett County Cooperative Extension