Here at Blease Exterminating, we often receive calls from customers around this time of year with questions about how to best deal with pests in their gardens. One of the most common spring pests that both avid gardeners and homeowners in general can face is the Asian lady bug.
The Asian lady bug is a member of the family of true beetles that is known in taxonomical terms as Coccinellidae. While they are most commonly known as the lady bug, they are technically a beetle and are sometimes referred to by pest professionals as the Asian lady beetle. The Asian lady bug is not native to North America, and was actually intentionally imported to help control populations of crop destroying insects. The first few attempts by specialists to introduce the Asian lady bug were unsuccessful. However, after an attempt in the 1970’s to introduce them again, the population has grown enormously. Asian lady bugs can now be found across the entire United States as well as Canada.
Asian lady bug are fairly small insects, growing to approximately 7mm in length. As adults, they can vary in coloration, but are typically a shade of red, yellow, or orange. Because of this color variation, it can be difficult to identify the Asian lady bug by color, therefore the best way to identify it is by locating the “M” shaped mark located just behind the head.
Asian lady bugs are a predatory species. Their diets primarily consists of small pest insects found around plants and gardens such as aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. Their diet makes them very beneficial to both farmers and gardeners because they can help to control the population of pests that damage plants and crops.
During the fall, Asian lady bugs can often be found gathered in mass outside of homes. They will attempt to find a way to access the interior of the home through a crack or crevice. Once inside, the lady bugs will remain in secluded hiding areas for the entire winter.
When spring returns, the lady bugs will emerge from their hiding places. During this time they can often be found by homeowners either inside of the home or outside gathered on the sunlit sides of walls. Once they have made their way outside, the female lady bugs will begin the reproduction process by laying eggs on the undersides of leaves. The number of eggs laid in each instance varies from species to species, but a single female can lay hundreds of eggs at one time in some cases.
Asian lady bugs undergo the process of complete metamorphosis, which means that their development can be dividing into 4 distinct stages from egg to adulthood. Once the eggs have been laid, they will hatch within about 5 days. The newly hatched larvae will emerge and consume prey such as aphids while continuing to molt and grow progressively larger. After they have reached a certain level of development, the larva will enter into a pupal stage, which can vary in length anywhere between a few days and 2 weeks. After the completion of the pupal stage, the new adult lady bugs will continue to feed and repeat the reproduction process throughout the spring and summer months.
It is important to note that, in some cases, the Asian lady bug can be a very beneficial presence around your home due to their role in protecting gardens and topiary from plant destroying pests. However, if they are massing in large numbers in or around the home, it can be necessary to take measures to reduce their population.
The best way to protect your home from lady bugs is to prevent them from gaining access to the interior during the winter months. The most common access points around the home for lady
bugs are unsealed doors and windows, vents without proper screening, and exterior structural damage. Sealing these areas can go a long way towards reducing the population of lady bugs as well as other intrusive pests around the home.
These methods will work quite well in less severe cases of infestation. However, if the lady bug population is too large to deal with, or if they have already gained access to the home, it can sometimes be necessary to use chemical treatment methods to deal with the problem. In such cases, it is often best to rely on the assistance of a pest professional.
At Blease Exterminating, our team of experts are experienced in dealing with pests of all kinds. Rather than simply providing blanket treatment methods, our technicians will inspect your home and provide you with the best pest solutions to fit your unique situation, all at a price that fits your budget!
So if you need help dealing with Asian lady bugs, or simply have a question, call us today at 229-891-3501! We will be happy to help you in any way that we can!