- HOW DID LADYBUGS BECOME A PROBLEM?
- LADYBUG INFESTATIONS IN UNITED STATES
- LADYBUG PROBLEMS IN THE HOME
- BEST OUTSIDE LADYBUG SPRAY
- BEST LADYBUG SPRAY FOR INSIDE THE HOME
- LADYBUG TRAPS
- LADYBUG HAND HAND HELD ZAPPER
- LADYBUG VACUUM
- LADYBUG DUST FOR ATTICS AND WALL VOIDS
- LADYBUG SEALANT TO KEEP LADYBUGS OUT
- ORGANIC LADYBUG REPELLENT
- LADYBUG CONTROL IN SUMMARY FORM
- CONTACT US
Lady bug control? Isn’t this sacrilegious? Every- one knows lady bugs eat many nuisance pests so why would we want to kill them? This article will explain why regions in the United States are faced with the problem of invading lady bugs. I will explain why this is happening and what you can do to stop it.
HOW DID LADYBUGS BECOME A PROBLEM? ^
Lady bugs do indeed eat many nuisance pests found in and around the garden. As a child, I can remember being told never to kill a lady bug as it is good to have them around the home. In the last few years, we have had increasing numbers of customers from all parts of the United States call looking for relief from lady bugs that are “invading” their homes.
At first I thought these were isolated instances that were due to certain conditions. I expected that these conditions were rare and explained to homeowners the invasion would soon subside. Too my surprise, they continued. More people began to call and it was obvious there is more than just “conditions” which were leading to these home invasions. I then conducted some research and the mystery was soon solved.
In an attempt to sell “natural pest control”, certain companies around the country have been importing lady bugs from other parts of the world and selling them. These lady bugs have been marketed as being more aggressive and hearty compared to our own indigenous species. One feature of their biology (unfortunately) is they do not die each winter. They hibernate!
So unlike our own native species, these imports like to over winter on mountainsides, rocks and caves. Such environments are readily available in certain parts of our country but not all. And since lady bugs are being released in areas where such terrain does not exist they are taking advantage of the next best thing – our homes! Watch this short video to see one of these “pests”.
LADYBUG INFESTATIONS IN UNITED STATES ^
I am not sure how bad of a problem this is, but we have received reports from the Northwest, the Southeast and the Southwest. What is the problem? Although ladybugs do not pose economic problems, this species seems to “flock” to homes in the fall. They seem to like a certain temperature as well as a good amount of cracks and crevices.
That means homes with cedar shakes or other wood siding are more vulnerable. And once they start to congregate in the cracks and crevices of these homes, more will come. This happens because they have a very distinct pheromone or “scent” used to alert other ladybugs that a good location has been found on which to nest. In fact there its not uncommon to see massive “balls” of them in attics where they are mating and amassing. This hibernation will last throughout the winter and then come next spring they’ll fly off to live their lives out in the open for another warm season.
LADYBUG PROBLEMS IN THE HOME ^
The main problem is that not all ladybugs stay hidden and out of sight. Once on the home, they’ll move under siding and into wall voids. That’s when they become a nuisance. Once in wall voids, they’ll start to appear in living areas. At that time they’ll be seen swarming around lights, TV’s, windows and ceilings. They’re usually seeking a good crack or crevice to crawl into and remain during the colder time of the year but once inside, they’re “tricked” into thinking its still warm. Consequently, they’ll remain quite active while causing a mess.
Though ladybugs don’t sting, we have had many reports from people with ladybug bites. This will no doubt happen if you handle them. So the first rule is to avoid holding them in your hand. However, large populations which are allowed to accumulate in the home will lead to more and more contact with the people. This contact will lead to bites as the ladybugs are doing what they naturally do; forage for food and use aggression as a defense when threatened.
Since food is scarce during the winter, its more likely for people to get bit during this time. In the summer they have plenty to eat and consequently don’t randomly bite in an effort to find food.
I used to advise customers to “catch and release” them back outside but not anymore. That suggestion has received many followup “mean and ornery” responses. We now recommend several treatment methods which have proven effective to control and eventually eliminate these unwanted invaders. The following video shows how bad a ladybug infestation can become if left untreated.
BEST OUTSIDE LADYBUG SPRAY ^
To stop them from penetrating your home, there is a product we sell which works well to both kill and repel them off your home. CYPERMETHRIN seems to aggravate them clearly, ladybugs do not like it. Simply spray the sides of your home where ladybugs are invading and you will be able to kill any present as well as keep new ones from coming around. Cypermethrin will provide a fast kill along as well as residual action that can last 3-4 weeks. If ladybugs continue to rest on treated surfaces for a day or longer, they’ll die. Mix 1 oz per gallon of water and expect to get 800 sq/ft of surface area coverage per gallon. That means most homes will require 2-3 gallons of mixed material to get a good protective barrier in place.
To apply the Cypermethrin, you’ll need a good sprayer. Regardless of how high you need to reach, it’s best to start at the high side of the home and carefully watch to see how much runs down the building. By seeing where the spray runs, you’ll be able to minimize waste and maximize coverage. So if you only need to reach 15 feet up, our standard PUMP SPRAYER will do the job.
For homes 20-30 tall, you’ll need a good HOSE END SPRAYER or our TROMBONE SPRAYER to reach all surfaces. The Hose End will use the power of your garden hose to spray the mixed solution up and can reach at least as high as you can spray water from the hose. The Trombone sprayer will require more effort to use but it can reach up to 30 feet.
BEST LADYBUG SPRAY FOR INSIDE THE HOME ^
Since ladybugs will return to homes year after year once they start marking it with pheromones, its always best to get a good protective spray outside before they arrive. This way when they start swarming your home, they’ll avoid it or suffer the consequences. This will kill off the ones which refuse to leave and drive others away. Expect to treat once or twice in late summer early fall to avoid the main brunt of their assault. This outside treatment is important as a timely application will protect your home for the winter.
But if you miss your outside applications and have them emerging inside the home, you’ll need to do some treating or else endure this unwanted guest all winter. One of the best products we have for inside treating is an aerosol which uses the active Chlorfenapyr. Known as PT PHANTOM, it comes in a small can with a special injector straw so you can deliver the product where it needs to be. Apply by spraying small amounts around windows, door molding and light fixtures. These are common routes of entry. One of the great features of this product is that it goes on “dry” when applied properly so you can apply it inside the home without making a mess. More importantly, its as “odorless” as an aerosol can be. Its barely detectable when applied (most people can’t smell it even then) but within an hour, any odor will be gone for good.
Just don’t expect a quick kill; this active takes a good 2-3 days to “kick in” or have an impact. But this is very much by design. This way the active is effectively “shared” with other ladybugs because they’ll transfer it from one member to another of their little nests. This way when the active does kick in and start to kill, it will impact not just the ones which touched treated areas but many, many more. And since the active is undetectable, they won’t be chased around the home or avoid treated areas.
Now if you prefer a fast working product, a good alternative to the Phantom would be DFORCE AEROSOL. It definitely has an “instant kill” result but it also has an odor and when first applied, will look a bit wet if you spray too much so use it lightly. When deciding where to treat, try to identify the key rooms where they are entering. Remember that treating inside alone will not stop the invasion without also treating the outside with Cypermethrin. Also remember that once inside the home, you’ll need to treat 1-2 month until the following spring when they leave your home for the warm season.
LADYBUG TRAPS ^
If you’ve sprayed the outside and still have ladybugs inside, consider deploying some LADYBUG TRAPS. These devices are designed to catch ladybugs as they forage in the home – particularly rooms which are difficult to treat. We have three trap options. This first one uses a hanging glue board with ladybug scent pheromones placed inside. The lure will attract “ready to mate” ladybugs and when they enter, they get stuck in the glue. Be sure to replace the traps as they get filled. In most cases, you can set them on a shelf or around windows where they’re active. But since these traps will only work when ladybugs are looking for a mate, we find they won’t attract them all the time. Generally they’re good 3-6 months of the year but its not possible to say whey. Fortunately the glue and pheromone will remain active for 6-12 months but if they fill up, be sure to replace them promptly. Set one trap out for every 400 sq/ft of room.
Another design we carry is ideal for problems around windows. So if you notice ladybugs constantly around windows in your home, the LADYBUG WINDOW POWDER TRAPS will be the way to go.These work really well at windows since they’re designed to trap ladybugs based on how they fly and move once on the glass. Typically active ladybugs will want to get outside as they emerge in your warm living space. This happens because as they come out of hidden voids and awake from hibernating, they’ll be eager to find food. And they know food will be where there is sunlight so they seem to find any window in the home and once marked with pheromones, it will become used over and over by emerging ladybugs. One trap per window can last 6-12 months and they are discreetly effective.
But if you want the “best” ladybug trap, get the LIGHTED LADYBUG TRAP. This uses a pheromone lure like the Window or Kill trap but it also has a special UV lamp ladybugs naturally seek. The trap can hold hundreds of ladybugs and can be used inside or outside. It will catch the most ladybugs of all the traps as well stinkbugs. But remember, its generally not possible to eliminate or control ladybugs without spraying as detailed above. So please, don’ get any traps with the hope they’ll get rid of every ladybug in your home. Now will they help? Absolutely. But they won’t catch or collect every bug and as long as your home is left untreated (especially on the outside), more will come around so there will be a never ending “new” population coming inside. For best results, keep active all night long in a dark room with no other lights on. Set out one trap per 600 sq/ft.
LADYBUG HAND HAND HELD ZAPPER ^
If you want a fun and easy way to get rid of ladybugs without any mess or fuss, get our HAND HELD ZAPPER. This device is great for use on wasps, bees, mosquitoes and flies but it will also kill ladybugs on contact. It’s great to use on the one or two that fly around and around ceiling lights. Simply hold up the racket head in the ladybugs path and bam! On contact it will receive a lethal shot of electricity causing instant death.
LADYBUG VACUUM ^
For even more control, get the BUG VACUUM/ZAPPER. This self charging vacuum is strong enough to pick up just about any size insect and you decide if you want to kill what you catch or release them elsewhere.
It is worth mentioning that several homes we have encountered have had the infestations so bad that we were able to view masses of ladybugs in attics and crawl spaces. If you are seeing 20 or more ladybugs emerging in your home every day, do a thorough inspection of the attic and crawl space. Pay particular attention to the insulation in the attic. Ladybugs like to burrow under and between insulation and wood sheathing. Most homes develop infestations in these locations well before owners realize any thing is happening. Once established, the ladybugs will breed and over winter. After a season or two of doing this, their numbers will be so great that they will find their way into your living area.
LADYBUG DUST FOR ATTICS AND WALL VOIDS ^
If ladybugs are active in your attic or crawl space of your home, consider dusting these areas for long lasting, better suited material for the job. The reason is simple; liquid treatments don’t do well in the attic. They tend to make a mess and get absorbed so they don’t leave a protective barrier out in the open. But DELTAMETHRIN DUST will cover the area well and in turn, provide maximum protection with little effort. It should be applied with a DUSTIN MIZER to get the product evenly distributed. Once the attic or crawl space is treated, ladybugs will quickly die. The residual of the Deltamethrin Dust will provide continuous protection so no new infestations will be able to live or breed.
Combine the void treatments with spraying the outside of your home and you will have an effective ladybug control program in place. But remember, they will continue to return to your home and as long as your house has open cracks and crevices for them to hibernate. So for some situations, it may be worth doing a good “house sealing” job.
LADYBUG SEALANT TO KEEP LADYBUGS OUT ^
Most homes with ladybug problems have lots and lots of small cracks, crevices and gaps through which ladybugs enter and use for hibernation. These entry points should be reduced and/or eliminated with the use of some FOAM SEALENT 16 OZ. These cans are self charged and good for small jobs. The small can comes with its own injector tube too. Each can can cover up to 1000 feet while making a 3/8″ bead.
If you have a lot of cracks to seal, it would be wise to invest in one of the professional FOAM GUNS and maybe even the 24″ FOAM GUN. These tools will enable you to apply the sealent quickly and precisely without much waste or missed applications. In other words, they will more then pay for themselves.You’ll need the FOAM SEALENT 25 OZ for these guns, which easily fit on either applicator, and cover a much larger area then the smaller cans (over 1500 linear feet while making a 3/8″ bead).
For added protection, consider the FOAM WITH REPELLENT. This formulation of foam comes with expanding foam but includes a strong repellent which insects and animals do not like. It may be just what you need to make sure ladybugs and other undesirable home invaders aren’t able to find their way inside quite as easily as they have in the past. Be sure to keep your applicator guns working fine by cleaning them with FOAM GUN CLEANER after each use. This will keep the gun functioning and ready to go to work when next needed. The following video highlights some of the features of using the Foam to seal out ladybugs.
The following video highlights some of the features of using the foam to seal out ladybugs.
ORGANIC LADYBUG REPELLENT ^
If you only want to repel ladybugs and not kill them, NBS might be a product you’ll want to use. It can be sprayed at the rate of 3 oz per gallon of water for use on your home or plants. Use one gallon of mixture for every 800 sq/ft. But NBS can also be added to paint or stain the next time you finish your homes’ exterior. When using it as part of the homes exterior, you’ll get a good 1-2 years of insect repellency as part of the homes exterior coating. Made from plant oils, this 100% natural product isn’t a pesticide and it won’t kill any insect. But it will no doubt help by repelling them and keeping them away.
LADYBUG CONTROL IN SUMMARY FORM ^
Ladybugs are predatory beetles who can seemingly be a friend of man but also an enemy. In general, they do not present a problem. In fact, most people would like to have them around for their natural pest control qualities. However, the different species introduced here in the United States to help provide natural pest control has had mixed results. Many people are experiencing a mass invasion of these insects and it’s clear this problem is not going away.
There seems to be three stages of infestations.
1) The first year the homeowner notices in the fall that lady bugs are resting and crawling on their home. They don’t do anything about it and ignore them when they emerge in the spring. Little do they know…
2) … that next fall, there will be a lot more. And we mean ALOT. Again, most people will do nothing. They’ll hope its just a “fluke” that will go away and not return.
3) By the third or fourth year, the situation goes from ladybugs on the outside of the home to a mass invasion. This invasion makes for a mess inside the home with ladybug “dust” everywhere along with dead carcasses and eventually, a very distinct smell.
The good news is you spray your homes exterior the first or second year, ladybug invasions will be easy to control. And if you have waited several years before treating, you can still manage them but will have to more like dusting, treating living spaces with an aerosol and setting out some traps. But will get control if you give the treatments to take effect and run their course. And after 6-2 months of beginning a ladybug control program, you’ll begin to see long lasting results that will allow you to live ladybug free all winter..
CONTACT US ^
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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