Asian Lady Beetles / Ladybugs
- Latin Name: Harmonia axyridis/Coccinellidae
- Size: 3/8”
- Color: Different species of ladybugs are yellow, orange and red with black spots and a cream head.
- Shape: Ladybugs have a round dome, two sets of wings and six legs
- Found in: All parts of the United States
- Overview: Asian lady beetles and ladybugs are helpful insects because they help control pests found in farms and gardens. The Asian lady beetle is more aggressive than the typical ladybug. One easy way to tell the difference between the two is the number of spots on the shell. An Asian lady beetle will have up to four times more spots than a common ladybug with four to six spots. Another difference is the “M” marking on the Asian lady beetles head and the color of the shell. The Asian lady beetle is yellow, orange or red and darker than the common ladybug.
Origin: Legend has it that ladybugs were named after the Virgin Mary back in the Middle Ages when farmers were praying for a solution to the pests destroying their crop and ladybugs appeared. The Asian lady beetle was transported to the United States from Asia and arrived in a Louisiana port in the 1980s.
Climate: Ladybugs prefer temperate to tropical temperatures depending on the species. In the cold months, ladybugs will move further south or find a place indoors to hibernate.
Favorite Foods: Ladybugs are helpful to farmers and landscapers because they eat aphids and scale insects that attack plants and orchards. Originally they were thought to be only carnivorous, but when food is scare they will eat plants. As a last resort, they will eat their own eggs to survive.
Family: Ladybugs produce hundreds of eggs at one time. Some eggs are infertile and laid as a precaution incase they are unable to find any other food source. Once the larvae hatch from the fertile eggs, they begin to operate independently. The larvae do not look anything like an adult ladybug. They appear more similar to a mini alligator. It takes about a month of consuming insects for their bodies to develop. A ladybug typically lives between one and two years.
Unique Facts: Ladybugs are beetles not bugs. Outside of the United States, ladybugs are called ladybirds. Many countries have nursery rhymes about ladybirds. The number of spots on the dome of the ladybug does not have anything to do with the age of the bug. Ladybugs hibernate in the winter and often times enter homes in the fall looking for a place to sleep. Their bright colored dome is a deterrent for predators. If a predator is approaching they will stop moving and play dead.
Signs of a problem: Besides seeing ladybugs near windows, doors and on your walls, you may smell a foul odor or see a yellow secretion from ladybugs. Thousands may hibernate together in your attic, although ladybugs do not live in
Do they attack humans? Asian lady beetles and common ladybugs do not attack humans. They may cause allergy, sinus or asthma problems. When ladybugs are threatened, they release a foul smelling yellow liquid.
Stopping an infestation: First, determine how the ladybugs are entering your house. Next, seal any cracks or holes and mend any torn screens. A vacuum should work to remove the ladybugs remaining inside. Use insecticide around the perimeter of your home. If you continue to see ladybugs after these steps, it may be time to call a pest control professional.