There may be an influx of this familiar-looking beetle into your home as the weather turns cooler this fall.
the Harmonia Axyridis, Also known as the Asian ladybug, it will look for a warm place to overwinter, in a process called “hibernation.”
Antonia Guidotti, an entomology technician at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), explained that the beetles will stay alive as they await the return of spring.
“As the days get shorter, the warmer parts of our houses face south, because they get more sun during the day. There are definitely a lot of them coming inside right now, ”Guidotti said.
Although they look like the black and red ladybugs we all know and love, the Asian ladybug is actually different from your average ladybug.
Guidotti says the species was introduced to the US in the 1970s, and the first ones were recorded in Canada in 1994.
“It was intentionally introduced to feed on soybean aphids and other aphids in the southern United States. This ladybug is so good at what it does that it has spread across the continent.”
Now, the Asian ladybug is the most prominent ladybug that can be found outdoors. Other species, such as the transverse ladybug (Ladybird Transversoguttata), and the two-spotted ladybug (Adalia bipunctata), are much less common in Ontario.
You can tell them apart by looking at the shape of the black markings on the Asian ladybug, Guidotti says.
“That one in particular has a black ‘W’ on a white background. The head is black and with a little white. Right behind him is this plate. On that plate, it’s actually a ‘W’. That is the character we use to separate this species from all the others. “
They do not pose any harm to humans, although they do bite sometimes. The beetles can also leave yellow marks on light-colored fabrics and surfaces.
“It’s a more annoying problem because there are so many,” says Guidotti.
Sean Rollo, technical director of Orkin Pest Control Services, said that once the beetles seek shelter in your home, there is no viable treatment exterminators can use to get rid of them.
Instead, he advises looking for gaps around windows, doors, and vents and sealing them with silicone or caulking, saying that’s the best way to keep insects from crawling inside in the first place.
If the beetles have already turned your home into a winter shelter, removing them is quite simple.
“You can breathe them as you see them. If you catch them alive and put them back outside, they will likely find another way back, ”he said.
“We generally discourage people from trying to take steps to eliminate them because they are beneficial to our garden and our plants in keeping the aphid population in check,” said Rollo.