When it’s cold enough outside to see your breath, it seems like insects should be the last thing on your radar. But, as it turns out, one particular foe likes to strike when the weather outside is frightful. You may have noticed today’s subject and mistaken it for another insect—the ladybug. Today, we’re dissecting this critter so you can correctly identify it and effectively keep it out of your home.
The Asian lady beetle’s scientific name is harmonia axyridis. It belongs to the same order as the traditional ladybug. Some other common names are the Japanese beetle or the Japanese ladybug.
The Asian lady beetle comes in a variety of colors, most commonly ranging from gold to red, and is usually about the size of a pencil eraser. Though, at first, the Asian lady beetle may strongly resemble a ladybug, with a closer look you’ll be able to distinguish what sets these foreign pests apart. An Asian lady beetle always has a black and white marking behind its head that forms an “M” on the back of the neck. Sometimes their wings don the typical ladybug-esque dots, while other times their brightly colored shells are just a solid orange.
As their name indicates, Asian lady beetles originated in various parts of Asia, specifically China, Russia, Korea, and Japan. Beginning in the 1960s, the beetles were systematically released by the United States Department of Agriculture as an attempt to control certain agricultural pests. Large batches of beetles were introduced to various states across the U.S., including Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maryland. Now, several decades later, the beetles have migrated to virtually every state in the Continental U.S.
Asian lady beetles continue to serve their purpose—cutting down on crop-feeding insects like aphids; however, they can become quite the nuisance in the winter months. As the temperature begins to dwindle, you may start to notice these little fellas on your home’s sun-facing windows and walls. When the outdoor conditions drop below their liking, they’ll find any way possible into your home.
The best way to keep your home safe from these intrusive stinkers is to seal up any small entryways. This includes, but is not limited to, cracks in windows, doors, plumbing, siding, eaves, roofing, and foundation. It may also be beneficial to ensure doors and windows are tightly fitted. Using an outdoor pesticide during the spring, summer, and fall months may also help to prevent infiltration later in the year. If an Asian lady beetle does find its way into your home, simply remove it by vacuuming it up or capturing it with tape. To avoid creating a stain or releasing an odor, don’t squish the beetle in your home.
Are you struggling with keeping Asian lady beetles at bay? Call Springer to schedule your residential pest inspection. With nearly 30 years in the industry, our trained professionals are on standby, ready to help you with all of your pest control needs in Des Moines and Central Iowa. Set up your free inspection today!