by Charlene Burgi
Last week I addressed the benefits of attracting good insects. I learned there could be a down side to beneficials as a reader pointed out. It seems that ladybugs invaded her home. If you missed the blog, you might find my response useful if you ever share this experience.
Beneficials are good in the garden, but not when they enter your home. Not all ladybugs are bad. Hippodamia convergens are good ladybugs that do not invade homes. The ladybugs the reader was confronting are the Asian Ladybugs, Harmonia axyridis. They were introduced into California within the past 20 years and are known to invade warm, well-lit places for hibernation in the fall.
The Asian Ladybugs are more attracted to homes painted in light colors and exposed to the afternoon sunlight. They will enter into the house through any crack or crevice they can find. To prevent their infestation in autumn, find any air gaps in the structure of your home and caulk or seal so the beetle cannot penetrate. This would be a good spring and summer project.
Once the ladybugs have entered the house, try placing a slice of apple where they will gather. Collect them and remove from the premises. Repeat this process for several weeks. Some people have installed a low watt light bulb where the ladybugs will congregate for easy collection. Leave this bulb lit around the clock. You can also vacuum them up by putting a soft cloth between the hose and the bag and releasing the captured ladybugs outdoors. Or you can collect the ladybugs, put them in a jar in the refrigerator (The cold sends them into diapause, or insect-hibernation), and release them in the garden in the spring.
A word of warning: ladybugs can secrete a yellow acrid fluid that can stain as well as smell, so avoid crushing them in the process of removing them from your home. Good luck.