Lady Bugs

The stereotypical appearance of a ladybug is oval, mostly red color with black spots. Surprisingly though ladybugs come in a variety of shapes (from oval to almost perfectly round) and measure 1/32 - 3/8 of an inch long. And while many species of variations of red and black, they can be red, orange, yellow or shiny black with a variety of markings. With over 6,000 species worldwide, there’s a lot of room for variation.

Ladybugs are extremely useful in farming since they prey on insects that wreak havoc on crops. Farmers release ladybugs to control pests; however, this has resulted in a large increase in the ladybug population. For farmers, this has been a great benefit, but not for homeowners. In autumn, ladybugs look for a place to overwinter such as under leaves, rocks, timber or in buildings. They will make their way into homes when temperatures warm into the 60s causing a nightmare for homeowners.

If you see ladybugs in your home, vacuuming them up is the best way to get rid of them. Because of their benefit to the environment, killing them in large numbers is not recommended. As with the vast majority of insects, the ladybugs you see could be just the tip of the iceberg. There could be many more hiding in your walls. Killing them could create a larger problem by attracting Dermestid Beetles who feed on decaying insects. Instead, wait until spring, when ladybugs return outside.

Once spring arrives, the best action to take to reduce future ladybug issues is exclusion (eliminating entryways). While it is impossible to close every entryway, you can reduce them by installing 16-mesh screen to all vents on the outside of your home. Areas of concern are: roofs, overhangs and weep-holes in brick buildings. Next, take silicone caulking and seal cable entrances, windows, doors, overhangs, fascia boards, etc. (any area with a gap that bugs can enter). Also, take the same measures inside your home. Use the caulking to seal around window and door frames, baseboards and any other areas with gaps that lead outside. By taking these precautions you will keep ladybugs out and help protect your home from other types of pests as well. So it can be said that ladybugs can serve as a warning sign that you may have some issues that need addressing. Maybe ladybugs are good luck after all.