April 12, 2001 | By: Haven Miller

If you've been frustrated by large numbers of Asian Lady Beetles invading your home, you're about to get some relief. Beetles that have overwintered in your house will soon head outdoors.

"The Asian species of this generally beneficial insect probably came into your home because it was attracted to its shape or reflected color," said Lee Townsend, Extension entomologist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Townsend said houses in or near wooded areas are especially troubled by these accidental invaders because the lady beetles feed on aphids and scale insects that infest trees. "As spring approaches these beetles will leave the shelter of your house to go outside and play an important role as beneficial insects," he said.

Lady beetles are considered beneficial because they feed outdoors on aphids and other harmful plant pests. However, this type is particularly fond of going inside buildings for the winter, and this has caused some real problems for people.

"We're fully aware of the serious problems some of our homeowners have had with finding large populations in their homes, but we'd also like to tell them that this insect was not released in Kentucky by any of our state government or university personnel."

Townsend said the earliest sighting of Asian Lady Beetles in Kentucky occurred in 1992. He said the insect likely migrated from other states that may have introduced the species with the intention of doing good, not harm.

"Several other states attempted to establish this beetle as a natural control agent of other pests, but no such releases have ever been attempted in Kentucky," Townsend said.

For removal of ladybugs in your home, Townsend said the best way is to use your vacuum cleaner. If you wish to release them later outside, you can place a handkerchief between the vacuum hose and the dust collection bag to act as a trap. Insecticide foggers or sprays are not recommended.

To prevent lady beetles from entering your home next fall, your should take steps to block all possible entry points. These steps includes installing tight-fitting door sweeps, sealing utility openings where pipes and wires enter the house, and caulking cracks around windows, doors, siding and facia boards.


Lee Townsend, 859-257-7455