Asian lady beetles may create nuisance with "swarming behavior"

2 years 8 months 2 weeks ago Monday, November 30 2015 Nov 30, 2015 Monday, November 30, 2015 9:02:00 AM CST November 30, 2015 in 8 Goes Green
By: Deja Shelby, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA — With colder weather upon us, mid-Missouri residents may start to notice an array of brightly colored, domed-shaped beetles lurking in the corners of their homes.

But have no fear — these pests are harmless. They’re the Asian lady beetles, and like many other insects, they’re simply searching for a sheltered place to escape the harsh conditions of the upcoming winter months, experts say.

Scientists call them the multi-colored Asian lady beetles. The U.S Department of Agriculture introduced this native of Asia into the United States in the 1970s as a control agent for the growing population of aphids and scale insects. It was later found in Missouri in 1993.

The Asian lady beetle is about a quarter-inch long, ranging in color from bright red to orange-yellow. Some have up to 19 spots, and some have no spots at all. Many of them have an M-shaped mark slightly behind their heads.

The Asian lady beetle is often mistaken for other beetle species in the insect family known as the lady beetle or lady bugs, said Rob Lawrence, a forest entomologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The Asian lady beetle’s swarming behavior makes this species more of a nuisance, Lawrence said.

“While many lady beetles often have this congregating swarming behavior, the multi-colored Asian lady beetle does it in large numbers and often poses a larger nuisance due to the fact that they are often attracted to buildings and homes,” he said.

Why Homes?

In their native Asian habitat, the lady beetle often found refuge in the vertical shafts of cliffs to escape the harsh conditions of winters. In Missouri, the vertical surfaces of many homes and other buildings mimic that natural environment.

“When lady beetles come into homes they’re not necessarily looking for warmth, because if they are warm all winter they would burn through their fat reserves and energy storage,” Lawrence said. Instead, they look for sheltered places like attics and wall cavities, which are still cool but don’t have the big fluctuations.

The beetles often enter a home through small gaps and crevices in the foundation.

“There are always a few reports that they do bite, but although they have biting mouthparts they are not harmful to people or animals,” Lawrence said. They don’t carry any diseases or reproduce in the winter months.

According to conservation department website, farmers and gardeners like the Asian lady beetle because it preys on aphids and other plant-destroying insects.

Prevention

To combat the Asian lady beetle, the department recommends:

  • Seal cracks around all major entryways, such as doors, windows and utility pipes.
  • Check all windows for proper installation or screen tears.
  • In extreme cases, consider careful use of an insecticide.

If you have already started to notice these small colorful pests creeping in the corners of your home, don’t fret. There are many ways to properly dispose of them.

The most common is to sweep or vacuum them up, but be aware that they often release a stink that many homeowners find hard to eliminate. They can also leave behind a stain.

Lawrence and other entomologists urge homeowners to remember that the beetles are important to the evolutionary cycle of the insect world. So next time you see a swarm of lady beetles hiding in the corner of your home, try to release them back into the outside world, they recommend.

For more information on the Asian lady beetle go to to the University of Missouri Extension website.

(Editor's note: This story's headline has been updated to correct a misspelling.)

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - A grant wants to help revitalize an old section of Columbia and make it a hub for small... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, August 15 2018 Aug 15, 2018 Wednesday, August 15, 2018 4:03:00 PM CDT August 15, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Deputies arrested a man Wednesday morning following a chase throughout eastern Boone County. The chase started... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, August 15 2018 Aug 15, 2018 Wednesday, August 15, 2018 10:16:00 AM CDT August 15, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Both westbound lanes of I-70 east of Kingdom City were back open following a crash Wednesday morning.... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, August 15 2018 Aug 15, 2018 Wednesday, August 15, 2018 8:09:00 AM CDT August 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Two medical marijuana November ballot measures are going to court ahead of the election, less than three months... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, August 15 2018 Aug 15, 2018 Wednesday, August 15, 2018 7:13:00 AM CDT August 15, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A new grand jury report says that internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania show that more... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, August 15 2018 Aug 15, 2018 Wednesday, August 15, 2018 6:20:00 AM CDT August 15, 2018 in News
BEVIER, Mo. (AP) — A suspect is hospitalized after being shot by a sheriff's deputy in north-central Missouri. Macon... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, August 15 2018 Aug 15, 2018 Wednesday, August 15, 2018 6:11:00 AM CDT August 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Sheriff's Department is investigating a shots fired case in northeast Columbia. Around 2 a.m.... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, August 15 2018 Aug 15, 2018 Wednesday, August 15, 2018 4:50:00 AM CDT August 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Assistant Police Chief John Gordon says the police department will be beefing up patrols in downtown Columbia this... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 11:30:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY - Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer announced he is conceding the race for the Republican nomination for the governorship.... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 8:18:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU researchers say they've hit a "milestone" in developing a cancer treatment that could be more effective than... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 6:57:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Voters will now be able to decide whether or not they approve of a gas tax increase,... More >>
23 hours ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 6:37:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A judge ruled against Traveler Indemnity Company in a lawsuit stemming from Ryan Ferguson's wrongful prosecution and conviction... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 5:24:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The Indiana woman who lost nine members of her family in a duck boat sinking last month in... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 4:56:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A new state law on temporary license permits is just two weeks away from being enforced. The... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 4:02:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
VERSAILLES - The Morgan County Sheriff's Office said a man died from a gunshot wound on Sunday, and Versailles police... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 1:45:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - With school starting today for Columbia Public Schools students, some construction projects are finished while others are just... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 1:44:00 PM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
Jefferson City - One person was injured in a car crash on the Missouri River Bridge on Tuesday. The... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 11:48:00 AM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - An Osage County judge ruled in favor of Missouri Secretary of State Jay Aschroft on Tuesday in... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 14 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Tuesday, August 14, 2018 11:34:43 AM CDT August 14, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 83°
6pm 84°
7pm 83°
8pm 78°
9pm 76°