Asian lady beetles may create nuisance with "swarming behavior"

1 year 11 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
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Officials are testing for asbestos among the debris left from a massive St. Louis warehouse fire.... More >>
7 minutes ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 1:17:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor will not file criminal charges against a Southwest Airlines pilot arrested after Transportation... More >>
16 minutes ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 1:07:54 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man is facing charges for allegedly shooting a mechanic in a dispute over... More >>
25 minutes ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:59:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Christmas holiday begins this weekend at Union Station in Kansas City. The station... More >>
29 minutes ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:55:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The state of Missouri is looking for input on how to spend $41 million from... More >>
43 minutes ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:41:00 PM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Holiday Festival is giving local vendors a platform to support mid-Missouri charities this weekend. The Holiday... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 11:42:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police and fire department units responded to reports of an overturned car at Grayson Cottages early Saturday... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 7:53:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in Continuous News
CAMDENTON - The place a man envisioned as his retreat away from the hustle and bustle of regular life now... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 7:05:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Shots were fired in downtown Columbia early Saturday morning in an area typically packed with late night celebrants.... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, November 18 2017 Nov 18, 2017 Saturday, November 18, 2017 12:49:00 AM CST November 18, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - One person was hurt in a crash on Stadium Boulevard at the intersections of East Pointe Road and... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 9:12:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center off Providence Road caught fire Friday night. A division chief said crews... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 8:19:52 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Each of Missouri’s counties are slating new council members for their MU Extension County Council. The councils... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 6:52:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – The Missouri State Highway Patrol will be putting "all available troopers" on the roads over Thanksgiving week. ... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 5:58:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Gloomy weather and a possible chance of rain isn't going to stop one Columbia organization from throwing on... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 4:12:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ASHLAND - The approval process took several months, but the process of planning a switch to a new sewage treatment... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 4:00:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
KINGDOM CITY - Hatton-McCredie Elementary’s 5th grade class donated $900 to Central Missouri Honor Flight, in honor of a late... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:51:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Haby Naya grew up in Chad, Africa. She spent lots of her free time braiding hair, anyone’s hair... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:45:00 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri prosecutor will not file criminal charges against a Southwest Airlines pilot arrested after... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, November 17 2017 Nov 17, 2017 Friday, November 17, 2017 3:41:31 PM CST November 17, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 42°
2pm 45°
3pm 47°
4pm 47°
5pm 45°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:30a
English Premier League Soccer
1:30p
Premier League Goal Zone
2:00p
Notre Dame Countdown to Kickoff
1:00p
Rookie Blue
2:00p
Rookie Blue
3:00p
Elementary

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Will & Grace
7:30p
Superstore
8:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld