There are over 5000 species of ladybugs worldwide. These insects, also known as ladybird beetles or lady beetles, are common throughout North America. Their appearance varies depending on the species; colors can range from red to orange and they can have spots, stripes, or even no pattern on their dome shaped bodies.
Ladybugs are harmless to humans and are even considered to be good luck in some cultures. They are beneficial to have around as they eat aphids and other plant-eating pests. While they are harmless to us, they can stain walls and furniture in your home and give off an odor.
Ladybugs are most active from spring to fall. Once the weather cools off, they will search for warm, isolated places to overwinter, such as rotting logs, under rocks, or inside our homes. When the weather warms up again, they will emerge from their hiding spots, seemingly taking over the homes they infested.
You can get rid of ladybugs by:
- Sealing them out. Plug any holes in exterior walls, seal doors and caulk around windows.
- Plant flowers. Ladybugs are attracted to flowers and gardens. By providing them with a food source outdoors, they will be less likely to make their way indoors. They do not like mums. Consider planting or placing potted mums near or around the doors and windows of your home.
- Vacuuming. Vacuuming won’t kill them but it will make it easier to get them out of your home. Make sure you vacuum them into a sealed container and then either release them outside or dispose of them.
- Use diatomaceous earth. DE is a powder that dehydrates insects. It is nontoxic to both humans and pets.
- Repel them. Ladybugs dislike certain scents including citronella, citrus oil, cloves, and bay leaves. Spray or place these near windows or other infested areas.
During the spring and fall you will often see an influx of ladybugs in your home. While they don’t pose a real health threat to you, they can stain carpets, upholstery, and walls. Why are these pests invading your house and how can you get rid of them?
Ladybugs will make their way indoors in the fall to overwinter in the warm shelter of your home. Once inside, they will hide until the warm weather of spring comes back around. It is at this time they will reemerge to try and return outdoors to reproduce.
Once inside, you will often find them clustered together in the corners of attics and basements or near doors and windows, especially those with large amounts of light. Once they make their way indoors, ladybugs will release a pheromone that signals other ladybugs to follow them.
Although they aren’t harmful, ladybugs can be a nuisance, especially when they invade in large numbers. You can prevent ladybugs by:
- Winterizing your home using weatherstripping on doors and windows, using tight fitting screens, and caulking or sealing any cracks or other potential openings.
- Vacuuming. You can use a vacuum cleaner to safely relocate live ladybugs outside. Put a rag between the dust bag and the hose to catch them, then release them once you get them outdoors. You can also vacuum dead bugs so they don’t stain paint and fabric.
- Using natural repellents to deter them. You can put a small bag of bay leaves or cloves near areas of your home where you often see them gathering. You can also use essential oils sprayed in populated areas to repel them. Some scents include citronella, menthol, peppermint, clove, and citrus.
If your DIY efforts are futile or you just want the help of a professional, contact your local pest control company for an analysis.
During the impending cooler months, some pests will begin seeking warmth and shelter for survival. These pests, known as overwintering pests, can survive cold temperatures due to these activities. There are three common overwintering pests: stink bugs, ladybugs, and boxelder bugs. They don’t cause any harm to you or your home, but they can become a nuisance once they get inside. Let’s break them down and discover the best ways to keep them away from your home.
These armor-shaped insects are an invasive species known to release an odor when disturbed or crushed. They pose no threat to humans or the structure of your home but can become a nuisance when an infestation occurs. They feed on a variety of plants, including fruits like apples, peaches, and figs. They prefer moist, mild climates and can be found in bathrooms and kitchens.
These harmless, overwintering pests are found worldwide and have over 5,000 known species. Ladybugs have an oval, dome-shaped body with a hard-shell wing that covers their inner wings. They are deemed beneficial and consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, mealybugs, mites, and scale insects. During the colder months, they search for warmth and shelter. They can take over your home in a matter of days and can become a major nuisance when large populations congregate.
These pests are named for feeding off maple and seed-bearing boxelder trees in the warmer months. Boxelder bugs are sneaky pests that can easily make your home theirs. These pests are oval-shaped and elongated, with a reddish black body and orange markings on their back. They are considered more assertive than other overwintering species, puncturing skin when they feel threatened. The result is similar to that of a mosquito bite, so it shouldn’t be something to worry about.
Preventing Overwintering Pests
- Seal or caulk all cracks, crevices, and holes around house foundations, siding, doors, windows, electrical, and plumbing.
- Keep the yard clean by raking, cutting grass short, and picking up debris in the yard.
- Use tight-fitting insect screens on foundations and attic vents.
Many pests hibernate or “die off” during the winter, causing homeowners to feel like they can relax during the colder months. Overwintering pests, however, are here to rain on your parade. These pests seek refuge inside our homes looking for food, water, and a warm place to hide until the weather outside is more favorable. Here are 6 winter pests to watch out for along with tips to prevent them.
Ants will come in through the tiniest holes or cracks in the exterior of your home. They also like to sneak in on plants and flowers that are brought indoors. Ants are masters of overwintering, typically seeking out warm places deep in the soil or under rocks to hide out. Food can be scarce, though, and your home provides the perfect location for them to get everything they need to survive the winter – food, water, and warmth. The first step to ant control in your home is to get rid of their food source. Make sure food is well sealed and crumbs are cleaned up from floors and counters.
Beetles like to come indoors to get out of the cold. They are known to hide in the warmest areas of your home, such as near dryers or water heaters. Elm leaf beetles and click beetles are two of the most common overwintering beetles you may encounter. They are often brought inside on firewood. If you spot beetles inside, vacuum them up and immediately discard the bag or canister contents. Eliminate their food sources by keeping your kitchen and bathroom clean. Caulk windows or use weatherstripping around them. Keep wood piles and leaf litter away from your home. Inspect any wood before bringing it inside.
Silverfish prefer damp, cold places and will usually be found hanging out in your basement or bathroom. They are common in the winter months, often hitching a ride as you are hauling your holiday decorations in and out of your attic or garage. They feed on books, glue, wallpaper, and boxes. Keep silverfish under control by vacuuming often and decluttering your home. Get rid of any old newspapers, mail, and cardboard laying around. Inspect any boxes before bringing them inside. Store clothes in sealed bins, preferably made of plastic rather than cardboard.
Ladybugs will come inside through window cracks and openings to shelter from the cold. While they don’t bite, they will secrete a yellow fluid with an unpleasant odor that not only attracts other ladybugs, but can also leave an unsightly stain on your walls, floors, ceilings, and more. Control ladybugs by locating and sealing any entry points you can find. Vacuum them up or spray them with soapy water. The soapy water will not only get rid of the ladybugs, but it will also get rid of the smell, helping prevent other ladybugs from coming back.
Roaches come indoors during winter for heat and humidity as they cannot survive the cold temperatures outdoors. They are also attracted to plants, leaf litter and mulch. Cockroaches pose a serious health risk to humans as they are known to transmit diseases and trigger allergies and asthma. They will also hitch a ride inside on grocery bags, boxes, and used appliances. They prefer to hang out in kitchens and bathrooms. Keep roaches at bay by cleaning counters and floors and vacuuming frequently. Dispose of your garbage regularly. Keep kitchens and bathrooms clean, especially under appliances and cabinets.
Spiders seek out warm, dark places to hide during the winter, usually in your basement, attic, or rarely used corners of rooms. They will also hide out in boxes and rarely used clothes and shoes. Keep spiders under control this winter by decluttering your home. Dust, vacuum, and sweep out cobwebs frequently. Discard any old boxes and packages they can use to hide out in. Keep trees and shrubs trimmed away from your home and cut back overhanging limbs from the roof. Store clothes and shoes in plastic containers.
No one wants to deal with pests inside their home regardless of what season it is. If you have a problem with pests at any time during the year, contact your local pest control company who can help identify the type of pest you have, identify entry points, and set up a treatment and prevention plan going forward.