Lady bug control? Isn’t this sacrilegious? Every- one knows lady bugs eat many nuisance pests so why would we want to kill them? This article will explain why regions in the United States are faced with the problem of invading lady bugs. I will explain why this is happening and what you can do to stop it.
Lady bugs do indeed eat many nuisance pests found in and around the garden. As a child, I can remember being told never to kill a lady bug as it is good to have them around the home. In the last few years, we have had increasing numbers of customers from all parts of the United States call looking for relief from lady bugs that are “invading” their homes.
At first I thought these were isolated instances that were due to certain conditions. I expected that these conditions were rare and explained to home- owners that the invasion would soon subside. Too my surprise, they continued. More people began to call and it was obvious there is more than just “conditions” which were leading to these home invasions. I then conducted some research and the mystery was soon solved.
In an attempt to sell “natural pest control”, certain companies around the country have been importing lady bugs from other parts of the world and selling them. These lady bugs have been marketed as being more aggressive and hearty than our own indigenous species. One feature of their biology, however, is that they do not die each winter. They hibernate.
So unlike our own native species, these imports like to over winter on mountainsides, rocks and caves. Such environments are readily available in certain parts of our country, but since these lady bugs are being released in areas where such terrain does not exist they are taking advantage of the next best thing – our homes! Watch this short video to see one of these “pests”.
LADYBUG COVERAGE IN UNITED STATES
I am not sure how bad of a problem this is, but we have received reports from the Northwest, the Southeast and the Southwest. What is the problem? Although they do not pose economic problems, these durable lady bugs “flock” to homes with certain conditions. They seem to be seeking a certain temperature as well as a good amount of cracks and crevices.
Homes with cedar shakes or other wood siding seem to be more vulnerable. Once they start to congregate in the cracks and crevices of these homes, more will come. I have seen massive “balls” of them in attics where they are mating and amassing. This hibernating will last throughout the winter and then they will emerge in the following spring.
The main problem is that not all of them are able to get to the hibernating areas. Most of the complaints involve massive numbers of these lady bugs finding their way into living areas. They swarm around lights, TV’s, windows and ceilings. They are seeking a good crack or crevice to crawl into and remain during the colder time of the year.
Though they don’t sting, we have had many reports from people who have ladybug bites. This seems to happen in most cases because they are handling some of them. However, large populations which are allowed to accumulate in the home will lead to more and more contact with the people who live there. Ultimately this contact will lead to bites as the ladybugs are doing what they naturally do; forage for food.
Since food is scarce during the time of year that they come inside it is more common for people to get bit at this time. During the summer months they have plenty to eat and consequently don’t randomly bite in an effort to find food.
I used to advise customers to “catch and release” them back outside, but that suggestion has gotten many mean and ornery responses. We now recommend several treatment methods which have proven effective to control and eventually eliminate these unwanted invaders. The following video shows how bad a ladybug infestation can get if left untreated.
LADYBUG CONTROL SPRAY
To stop them from penetrating your home, there is a product we sell which works well at repelling them. CYPERMETHRIN seems to aggravate them for long periods of time. Simply spray on the sides of house where they are invading and you will be able to chase them away. The Cypermethrin will provide both a fast kill along with residual. If the ladybugs persist on treated surfaces too long, they will die since the Cypermethrin will last a few weeks.
Although INSECTICIDAL SOAP will kill them quickly, it doesn’t have any residual. This means new ladybugs will be able to come to the structure and enter at will within a day of treatment. Insecticidal soap does not provide any repellency or residual which means you will have to apply it over and over again when ladybugs are active. For this reason we don’t recommend it for ladybugs. When treating, be sure to focus your efforts at gutters, vents, windows, soffits, overhangs, and door frames.
We sell several SPRAYERS which can be pumped up several times and with the tip it comes with you can spray over 25 feet. I like to start high on the side of the house and carefully watch to see how much runs down the building. By seeing where the spray runs, I am able to minimize waste and maximize coverage. One gallon of either concentrate mixed with water will cover around 1,000 square feet and most infestations are on one or two sides of a home. That means you’ll need to use 2-3 gallons of mixed spray per treatment.
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
For bad problems, you may need to treat all sides. This treatment will be needed in both the fall and the spring. Fall applications will stop ladybugs from making your home theirs for the winter so you won’t have them active inside the home during this season. Spring applications will kill off the ones already residing in the structure as they start to forage with warming weather.
LADYBUG CONTROL INSIDE THE HOME
When they come home to a treated house, they will avoid it or suffer the consequences. This will kill off the ones which refuse to leave and drive the others away. You will probably need to treat once or twice during the summer, but be sure to treat in the fall. This treatment is important as a timely application will protect your home for the winter. This insures you won’t get invaded again and will eventually eliminate the infestation altogether.
If you have them emerging inside the home, the active ingredient Chlorfenapyr comes in a handy aerosol called PT PHANTOM. This product has a crack and crevice applicator which allows you to treat around windows, molding and light fixtures. These are common routes of entry. And since one of the great features of this product is that it dries “dry”, you can apply it inside the home without making a mess. But don’t expect a quick kill; this active takes a day or so have an impact. However, you’ll soon see lots of dead ladybugs where it’s been applied. And since it’s undetectable by others, they’ll just keep walking over treated surfaces not realizing anything is present. Phantom is virtually odorless too so it’s good for those sensitive areas.
Phantom Aerosol: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/aerosol/pt-phantom-17-5oz
Now if you have so many active that you’d prefer a fast working product, a good alternative would be the DFORCE AEROSOL which definitely has an “instant kill” result. However, it also has an odor and can go on looking wet if you spray too much so use it lightly. When deciding where to treat, try to identify the key rooms where they are entering. Remember that treating inside alone will not stop the invasion without also treating outside with some Cypermethrin.
LADYBUG CONTROL TRAPS
If you have sprayed the outside and have a few which have still found their way inside, you may consider the use of our LADYBUG TRAPS. These devices are designed to catch them as they forage in the home – particularly rooms which are difficult to treat. We have two designs. One uses a hanging glue board with pheromones so when the bugs enter they get stuck in the glue. Be sure to replace the traps as they get filled. In most cases, you can hang it where it no one will notice, but if they do see it, they won’t find it offensive.
Ladybug Kill Trap: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/pheromone-and-food/ladybug-kill-trap
If you have a lot of activity around windows, get some of the LADYBUG WINDOW TRAPS. These work really well – particularly for vacation homes – and have replaceable pheromones and glue pads. Since many of the emerging ladybugs are wanting to get out and about to forage for food, they will readily migrate toward windows. By installing these traps onto the windows where the ladybugs accumulate, you can really impact just how many you see.
Ladybug Window Trap: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/pheromone-and-food/ladybuginsect-window-kit
And if you have a lot foraging around the home, get the LIGHTED LADYBUG TRAP. This trap performs the best. It uses the pheromone lure like the Window or Kill trap but it also has a special UV lamp ladybugs naturally seek. The trap can hold hundreds of ladybugs and it can be used inside or outside. It will catch the most ladybugs of all the traps but don’t think you can eliminate or control ladybugs without the spraying detailed above.It is important to understand this device is not designed to replace the use of either Cypermethrin outside or aerosol inside. Instead, it is meant to help. If you have enough ladybugs getting into your home, you still need to spray the outside. Aerosol treatments will also be needed inside and then setting a trap or two in rooms which have the most activity should keep their numbers in check. Be sure to keep the pheromones and glue fresh for best results.
Ladybug Light Trap: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/pheromone-and-food/asian-ladybug-light-trap
LADYBUG CONTROL ZAPPERS
And if you only have a few which seem to appear from time to time and you want some way to get rid of them immediately without any mess or fuss, get our HAND HELD ZAPPER. This device is great for use on wasps, bees, mosquitoes and flies but it will also kill any ladybug on contact. It’s great to use on the one or two that fly around and around ceiling lights. Simply hold up the racket head in the ladybugs path and bam! On contact it will receive a lethal shot of electricity causing it’s instant demise.
Hand Held Zapper: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/electric/hand-held-zapper
For even more control, get the BUG VACUUM/ZAPPER. This self charging vacuum is strong enough to pick up just about any insect and you decide if you want to kill them on contact or trap them alive for release elsewhere. Though neither device will provide long term control in homes which have bad infestations, these tools can provide some relief that’s both practical and immediate. Plus, they work on so many pests that can either fly or crawl it’s smart to have one around.
Bug Vacuum Zapper: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/electric/bug-vacuumzapper
It is worth mentioning that several homes we have encountered have had the infestations so bad that we were able to view masses of ladybugs in attics and crawl spaces. If you are seeing 20 or more ladybugs emerging in your home every day, do a thorough inspection of the attic and crawl space. Pay particular attention to the insulation in the attic. Ladybugs like to burrow under and between insulation and wood sheathing. Most homes develop infestations in these locations well before owners realize any thing is happening. Once established, the ladybugs will breed and over winter. After a season or two of doing this, their numbers will be so great that they will find their way into your living area.
LADYBUG CONTROL DUST
So if you find them in either the attic or crawl space of your home, you will have to do a power dusting. This treatment is a lot more effective than spraying. Liquid treatments don’t do well in the attic. The porous materials in the attic tend to absorb the Cypermethrin which takes away its residual. Dust is dry and will last several months and in most cases up to a year. Treat with DELTAMETHRIN DUST for maximum protection. It should be applied with a DUSTIN MIZER to get the product evenly distributed. Once the attic or crawl space is treated, ladybugs will quickly die. The residual of the Deltamethrin Dust will provide continuous protection so no new infestations will be able to live and breed. Combine this with spraying the outside of your home and you will have effective ladybug control. But remember, they will continue to return to your home and as long as your house has open cracks and crevices for them to hibernate, expect them to be around. For this reason, you may want to do some “house sealing”.
LADYBUG CONTROL SEALANT FOR HOME
Most homes that get invaded have lots and lots of small cracks, crevices and gaps through which ladybugs enter. These entry points should be reduced and/or eliminated with the use of some FOAM SEALENT. These cans are self charged and good for small jobs.
If you have a lot of cracks to seal, it would be wise to invest in one of the professional FOAM GUNS and maybe even the 24″ FOAM GUN. These tools will enable you to apply the sealent quickly and precisely without much waste or missed applications. In other words, they will more then pay for themselves.You’ll need the FOAM CANNISTERS for these guns, which easily fit on either applicator, and cover a much larger area then the smaller cans.
If your home is prone to animal invasions, consider the FOAM WITH REPELLENT. This cannister comes with expanding foam but includes a strong repellent which insects and animals do not like. It may be just what you need to make sure ladybugs and other undesirable home invaders aren’t able to find their way inside quite as easily as they have in the past. Be sure to keep your guns clean by using some FOAM GUN CLEANER. This will help keep the gun functioning and ready to go to work when next needed. The following video highlights some of the features of using the Foam to seal out ladybugs.
Foam Repellent: http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/aerosol/pur-ipf-foam
Pur Gun Cleaner: http://www.bugspraycart.com/sanitizer/aerosol/pur-cleaner
LADYBUG CONTROL ORGANIC REPELLENT
For an even better enhanced ladybug repellent, be sure to add some NBS ADDITIVE to your paint/stain the next time you finish your homes’ exterior. NBS is especially helpful when painting or staining wood that’s been a winter nest site for Asian Ladybugs. NBS can be added to any paint or stain and will last 1-2 years adding long term repellency to the exterior coating. Made from plant oils, this 100% natural product isn’t a pesticide and it won’t kill any insect so you still need to treat as explained above to control current infestations.
Now since Ladybugs don’t like NBS (neither do wasps, boxelder bugs, stinkbugs and other invasive insects) and they’ll avoid siding, fencing, railing, decks, logs, overhangs, soffits and any place NBS has been added to the finishing paint or stain.
Lady bugs are predatory beetles who help man in pest control. In general, they do not present a problem. In fact, most people would like to have them around for their natural pest control qualities. However, the different species recently introduced to provide natural pest control has had mixed results. Many people are experiencing a mass invasion of these insects and it’s clear this problem is not going away.
There seems to be three stages of infestations.
1) The first year the homeowner notices in the fall that lady bugs are resting and crawling on their home. They don’t do anything about it and ignore them when they emerge in the spring. Little do they know…
2) Next fall, the homeowner notices a lot more. Again, they do nothing. They hope it is just a “fluke” that will go away.
3) By the third or fourth year, the situation is unbearable. If spraying is done in the first or second year, it will be easy to control. If you have waited several years to treat, we suggest doing a power dusting as well to get quicker and more thorough control. Once you begin treating, expect to see them the next spring or fall. Their numbers will be greatly reduced and eventually they will be gone.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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