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.
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. MAXXTHOR EC is now the best product we’ve seen come to the market which both kills them quickly AND repels them. Simply spray the sides of your home where ladybugs are invading (start up high around the gutters and be sure to get the entire side with activity) and you’ll be able to kill any present as well as keep new ones from coming around.
The following “short video” (less than 60 seconds long) shows us using our GREEN TOPPED HOSE END SPRAYER to treat the exterior of a home to both kill and repel invasive pests. The rate used in this video will work fine for Ladybugs too.
As you can see in the video, mixing up the Maxxthor in the sprayer is easy to do and using the power of your garden hose, you can reach up to the gutters effectively with our hose end sprayer.
Maxxthor will provide a fast kill along with a good residual action that can last 3-4 weeks. But if ladybugs continue to keep coming, spray again in a week. 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 get the most of your treatment, add SPREAD-X BOOST to your tank mix along with the Maxxthor. Boost is an adjuvant, also known as a wetter spreader or spreader sticker. It basically makes water and the mixture more “slippery” so you get better coverage. Treatments will spread 2-3 times wider and penetrate deeper. This is super important when treating for pests like ladybugs who have a protective waxy shell on their bodies. Boost will help the Maxxthor penetrate this shield leading to faster kills and more repellency on treated surfaces. Maxxthor will penetrate home siding deeper too allowing for longer residual action.
The following short video summarizes why Boost can help deliver your treatment better.
Add no more than the rate you’re applying the Maxxthor so in this case, if you’re adding 2.5 oz of Maxxthor to the hose end sprayer, add 2.5 oz of Boost too before adding water. If you’re adding Maxxthor to a pump sprayer at the rate of 1 oz per gallon, use 1 oz of Boost.
Regardless of how high your home is, you need to reach the gutters and soffits as these are key points of entry leading to your gutters. So if you only need to reach 15 feet up, our standard PUMP SPRAYER will do the job.
Our 6 Gallon Hose End uses 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. To get as high as possible, remove the little black tip deflector which pulls off easily. This will let the sprayer propel the spray like a laser up to high locations.
The BUGSPRAY NO PUMP SPRAYER is for sure the “easiest” to use and the highest reaching option. It can spray up and over 30 feet and has no moving parts. Just add water, chemical and clamp on the lid. Next fill it with air using an electric tire pump. When loaded to 80 psi, she’ll spray over 30 feet high!
The following video shows the 5 GALLON NO PUMP in great detail.
What makes her extra special is that one filling of air will allow you to empty the sprayer and all the while she won’t loose much pressure. Even as she empties she’ll be spraying over 30 feet so she’s great for hard to reach locations or remote treatments where you have no way of dragging a water hose.
BEST LADYBUG SPRAY FOR INSIDE THE HOME
Once in the home, ladybugs will be on walls and ceilings. They typically enter around windows so this is one of the areas you really need to treat thoroughly using a good crack and crevice aerosol. The best option for this is our oil based FS MP AEROSOL.
FS MP will both kill on contact but also penetrate wood and “lock in” providing long lasting residual.
The following “short video” (less than 60 seconds long) summarizes why its such a great tool for pests like ladybugs.
As you can see in the video, FS MP is perfectly suited for strong pests like Ladybugs. A thorough treatment for windows will take some time but if you do it properly, you can eliminate this as an entry point.
To see how to intensively treat a window, watch this next informative video.
Treat all windows, doors and under baseboards as well.
Ladybugs may be entering at these points but once they’re inside living spaces, they often times find cracks and crevices around the flooring where they like to hide. So they may not be coming from these locations but rest assured, they could be living there during the winter if left untreated.
WHAT ABOUT WALLS AND CEILINGS?
Now often times the ladybugs will just migrate to open areas on the ceiling or wall. FS MP is NOT for these areas as its oil base will stain.
For open areas, lightly mist MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER. Its low odor and water based so that when sprayed properly, will not stain.
The following “short video” (less than 60 seconds) shows how to apply Multipurpose to walls and ceilings.
As you can see in the video, Multipurpose won’t stain or make a mess. It comes out as a light aerosol, its water based and has no odor so ideally suited for sensitive areas like walls, rugs and even furniture.
Use it at the rate of 10 seconds for every 10 feet by 10 feet of wall or ceiling area.
If spraying up, be sure to wear goggles.
Multipurpose will both kill and keep them off the treated surface for 2 weeks or more but is safe enough to retreat daily if they keep coming back.
WHAT ABOUT AIR VENTS AND ELECTRIC OUTLETS
Ladybugs entering attics will like to crawl under insulation seeking warmth but in the process, they’ll find air ducts for you homes central heat and a/c system. The vent covers in the ceiling will have spaces between the air duct and the ceiling that will allow them to crawl out and into your home.
The following video shows how to treat these locations.
As you can see in the video, the air ducts have a bunch of ways for ladybugs to enter living spaces.
But so does electric outlet covers and light switch covers. These covers should be removed and treated as shown in the video.
This dust is highly repellent to all insects as it dehydrates them. But it will also flush them out and it will last 6-12 months.
Well suited for attics and crawl spaces, treat any void or route of entry for the longest lasting option available.
Plan on using just 2-3 squirts per electric light switch or outlet; 4-5 per air vent.
To best apply the dust, use our HAND DUSTER.
And for attics, our DUSTIN MIZER will propel it 10-20 feet.
The following video shows how the dustin mizer works.
The Dustin Mizer is handy when treating hard to access crawl spaces or attics which are wide but have no place to walk.
And since Demise Dust will last a year or longer, you won’t have to treat frequently. In general, a good dusting will last 1-2 years.
If you’ve sprayed the outside and still have ladybugs inside, FS MP and Multipurpose can be enough to knock them out if used properly.
But if you need some help OR if you have a light problem with very few ladybugs inside, consider our LIGHTED LADYBUG TRAP. This uses a pheromone lure but 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 any trap on the market as well stinkbugs.
In fact its considered one of the best STINKBUG traps on the market but from our results afield, it works equally as well for ladybugs.
Now when using traps, its important to remember that traps alone are not designed 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. And they can have a significant impact meaning they’ll “remove” the majority of the activity in rooms where deployed.
The following video summarizes how our trap works.
To achieve the best result using a trap, you’ll need to keep it active all night long in a dark room with no other lights on. Set out one trap per 600 sq/ft.
ORGANIC LADYBUG REPELLENT
If you only want to repel ladybugs and not kill them, PEST AWAY might be the way to go. It can be sprayed at the rate of 2 oz per gallon of water and sprayed on both your home and plants.
Pest Away is made with all natural organic essential oils and gets mixed with water. It won’t harm any wildlife, insects, birds, pets, etc. but due to it being so concentrated, it makes insects “wary” of the treated area. They will avoid where its been applied and so spraying the homes siding , especially around windows and doors, can be a great way to deter them and keep them away.
The following “short video” (less than 60 seconds long) gives the quick summary of how Pest Away works.
Use one gallon of mixture for every 800 sq/ft.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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