Asian lady beetles may create nuisance with "swarming behavior"

1 year 10 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
BOONEVILLE - Police took two into custody after a car chase late Wednesday night. Police said the chase began... More >>
4 hours ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 12:09:00 AM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS - Southwest's first all-female crew took off from Missouri on Wednesday. The flight traveled from St. Louis... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 10:07:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jaden Schwartz had his third career hat trick to help the St. Louis Blues beat the... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 10:06:59 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police Department responded to a call at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in West Columbia. They are... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 7:39:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
MEXICO-- As Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to a close, a report by the Violence Policy Center shows that Missouri... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 7:29:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
ASHLAND - Children, parents and politicians attended a Youth Town Hall featuring Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, Wednesday evening at the... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 7:14:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - After an active threat on MU’s campus, some are disappointed with the MU Alert system and question its... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 6:51:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Downtown Leadership Council met Tuesday to decide how to spend fees paid by developers to compensate businesses... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 5:33:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — An Arkansas man who made bomb threats to a county courthouse in Missouri so his court hearing... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 4:31:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
MOBERLY - Police arrested a man Tuesday on suspicion of more than a dozen crimes, including rape, statutory rape, sodomy,... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 3:31:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Six years after being one of the first 16 schools to incorporate the Coulter Awards, MU has become... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 3:14:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – People struggling with alcoholism can find help more easily with a new online navigator tool released by the... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 3:12:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A judge has fined a central Missouri prosecutor more than $12,000 for failing to provide records... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 2:52:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Rep. Vicky Hartzler, (R)-Missouri, presented a new piece of legislation she says is aimed at getting more people... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 2:24:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A new report sheds light physical confrontations between a Missouri hospital's staff and patients that put the... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 2:13:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
MOUNTAIN VIEW (AP) — Authorities have confirmed that remains found in March in southern Missouri are a woman who has... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 2:08:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- The MU community made its voice heard Wednesday, laying out the characteristics, qualities and experiences it's looking for in... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 1:20:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY -As the U.S. House starts working on the 2018 Farm Bill, mid-Missouri's congressional representative talked with agricultural producers... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, October 18 2017 Oct 18, 2017 Wednesday, October 18, 2017 12:16:00 PM CDT October 18, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 52°
5am 53°
6am 52°
7am 52°
8am 53°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

4:00a
Early Today
4:30a
KOMU 8 News Today
5:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
4:00a
Paid Program
4:30a
Paid Program
5:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Superstore
7:30p
The Good Place
8:00p
Will & Grace
8:31p
Great News
9:00p
Chicago Fire
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Arrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld