Friday, April 07, 2006

Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home

I grew up calling them ladybugs. I've also heard them called lady beetles and ladybirds. When I was a kid, they were wonderful. Brightly colored, no stinger, didn't bite. One of the "good guy" bugs.

In Georgia we got a lot of them crawling around inside our windows sometimes. That was nothing compared to this old farm house.

The ladybugs that swarm and invade are Asian Lady Beetles. They overwinter in attics, siding, and behind baseboards. I vacuum mine up. They make the vacuum bag stinky inside. About the third time I vacuum up ladybugs, the vacuum cleaner is whooshing foul odors throughout my house.

They congregate mostly in my windows, but I sometimes see them other places. If you are infested with lady beetles, or think you are, you should read this excellent article put out by the University of Kentucky. It won't really help you get rid of them, but maybe your ladybugs won't bother you so much after you read the article.

Ladybugs don't carry disease, they don't eat wood or wiring or otherwise destroy your home, and they don't breed indoors. They're just hanging out waiting on warm weather and plotting their big escape. They eat unbelievable amounts of aphids. My garden is gonna love 'em.



At 7:54 PM, Blogger Floridacracker said...

Lucky you!

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Arthur said...

We have a neighbor who, a few years ago, remarked about having just sprayed insecticide on her apple trees because they were infested with "all these little black alligator-looking bugs with reddish stripes on their backs"... when I told her what they were, she looked liked she was going to cry.

At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Wayne said...

I've always called them "ladybugs", too. And they do migrate into the house during the winter, and congregate in colonies.

I'm not much of a housekeeper, so I just let them stay wherever they are and then in the spring try to find some way to collect them and shoo them out.

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous wannabe said...

Hey, maybe the starlings that get loose in your house will eat up the ladybugs! Nothing like having a predator species for organic pest control! :)

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Leslie Shelor said...

We always have ladybugs in this old farmhouse, too. Somehow they manage to get back outside, so I have a live-and-let-live attitude toward them. Same with the spiders, although that attitude isn't shared by Dad and the dogs. Mice, though, gotta go.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

FC: no comment.

Arthur, I did a similar thing with a bumblebee hive I found under my blackberry bushes years ago. A couple of weeks after exterminating the hive, I read "Lucky is the gardener who has a hive of bumblebees nearby..." and I felt like a traitor.

I'm not much of a housekeeper either, Wayne, but when I find them drowning themselves in the sink while I'm trying to wash dishes, well, out comes the vacuum cleaner! Plus my husband gets all funny when he hops out of bed barefoot in the morning and lands on lots of crunchy carcasses (I don't sleep on the window side :)

wannabe, you are full of helpful observations, as always. Much appreciated.

We get rid of the mice, too, Leslie, because they do damage and can carry disease. We have the *cutest* field mice here. I hate to trap them, but I do.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous pablo said...

Send some of those ladybugs my way. Our shrubbery is going to be infesting with aphids again this summer as they always are.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Amy The Black said...

They seem perfectly harmless, yet some people are allergic to them!More Info
We have far too many in our Creekistan home. I suspect that is why my 1 year old is suffering with reoccurring ear infections and respiratory illnesses.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

Pablo, you SAY mail you some but I notice you conveniently "forgot" to post your snail addy.

Amy, I did read that they can aggravate respiratory problems such as allergies and asthma. Sorry to hear about your 1-year-old. That's a miserable age to be sick. Not enough words yet :(

At 2:00 PM, Anonymous Mrs Lifecruiser said...

Wow, I've never heard of anyone vacuum ladybugs before. I guess we don't have so many of them here in Sweden. Too short summers and too cold.

I rather take all the ladybugs though, want more summer.

At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How are the ladybugs going to help your garden if they are dead in your vacuum?

At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love ladybugs. They are my best friends. Im only 11. (Almost 12)

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Tennelina (Caroline) said...

thanks for your helpful info on ladybugs. We live in an old farmhouse in TN and have a bad issue w/ them near our bed. I love ladybugs too but it gets a bit much when they're buzzing by your ears and crawling on you during sleep. We tried vacuuming to no avail... have now tried sealing the inside of our windows with that plastic stuff for insulation. i figure that way the bugs can live in the crack b/t the window and outside and we don't have to deal with them-- that way we don't harm them or us... we'll see if it works, though.

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are the Asian beetle. Not the American Ladybug. An infestation and should be killed. Watchout they bite and stink. They are a nuisance insect and should be treated as one.

Little clue, the American Ladybug does not swarm in this fashion. Only when hibernating do they flock in such numbers.


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