Lady Beetles "Housing"
In recent years many Illinois residents have experienced a home
invader known as named Harmonia axyridis, also known as the
Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle or simply "ladybug." This
beneficial insect should not be confused with the tree damaging
Asian Longhorned Beetle that has been detected in Cook and DuPage
Adult multicolored Asian lady beetles can vary in color and amount
of spots, from pale yellow-orange over bright red to almost solid
black and from none to up to 19 spots, depending on temperature
and food supply during their metamorphosis.
The multicolored Asian lady beetle was introduced multiple times
into the United States from Asia to assist in controlling soft-bodied
insects such as aphids and some scales. It was fairly successful
and has adapted well to living and reproducing in the United States.
And by now its growing numbers and further distribution tend to
be a nuisance for homeowners because of the beetles wintering habits.
In their native Asian habitat, the beetles congregate in crevices
and cracks of cliffs and rock faces and become inactive as soon
as temperatures drop; here in Illinois however, cliffs and exposed
rock faces are not very abundant and the beetles choose buildings
instead. If foundations, siding, and screens are in good repair,
then most beetles looking for hiding places in the fall will remain
outdoors. And you may encourage them to do so by installing "lady
beetle houses"(available in garden stores or easy to build)
outdoors. However, if gaps exist around windows, doors, attic or
crawl space of a building, many beetles will enter and congregate
Because most rooms in a house are heated to a comfortable level
the beetles never become inactive and during this time most homeowners
come in contact with lady beetles indoors and the complaints range
from unpleasant smell over stained walls to allergic reactions.
A very efficient method to collect and remove the beetles is vacuuming.
You may use your common vacuum or a shop vacuum and insert a piece
of cheesecloth or nylon-material into the front part of the hose
in order to collect and remove the beetles. (please check out the
following web site for details: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hse-fact/1030.html).
Another option is to attract the beetles with a light trap. These
traps are commercially available, but you may consider building
If you want to keep the trapped beetles in order to release them
in spring, you should place them in the already mentioned "lady
beetle house" outdoors or keep them in a container containing
plenty of ventilation holes and store the container in an unheated
and moist place like a garden shed or unheated garage.
The use of insecticides indoors to control wintering lady beetles
is not recommended. Insecticide sprays are likely to have little
effect on this hard-shelled insect that is not feeding indoors.
Buildings that had large populations of beetles found indoors should
be examined, and all broken screens, cracks in the foundation, and
gaps in the siding should be fixed to prevent a future influx.
Outdoors, these beneficial beetles should not be harmed. Their
feeding on large numbers of aphids, scales, and other harmful insect
pests makes up for the nuisance problems they can cause during winter.
February - March 2002: Starting
From Seed | Can I Prune Now? | Lady
Beetles "Housing" in Illinois| New
Septic System Publications | Weird Weather