Asian lady beetles may create nuisance with "swarming behavior"

2 years 2 months 3 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
MOBERLY - The Moberly Police Department is urging residents to check their credit and debit card statements for charges they... More >>
5 days ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:51:00 AM CST February 14, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A former St. Louis judge who sentenced a teenager to more than 240 years in... More >>
5 days ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:41:18 AM CST February 14, 2018 in News
FLORISSANT (AP) — Two women are hospitalized in critical condition after the car they were in collided with... More >>
5 days ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:24:39 AM CST February 14, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A candidate running as an independent has been elected to a vacant seat on the St.... More >>
5 days ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 10:23:23 AM CST February 14, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A man has been sentenced to a 120-day prison treatment program for setting two fires at... More >>
5 days ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 10:02:33 AM CST February 14, 2018 in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — Two men are facing charges in the shooting death of a southeast Missouri teenager. ... More >>
5 days ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 9:57:19 AM CST February 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Authorities arrested a man in connection with a deadly crash on I-70 Drive Southeast in November 2017. ... More >>
5 days ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 8:39:38 AM CST February 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A man charged with making a terrorist threat toward Rep. Vicky Hartzler's office was arrested and is currently... More >>
5 days ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 8:19:08 AM CST February 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - According to the 2017 Columbia Citizen Survey, the Parks and Recreation department had the highest satisfaction rate of... More >>
5 days ago Wednesday, February 14 2018 Feb 14, 2018 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:57:00 AM CST February 14, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House of Representatives perfected a bill on Tuesday, to make it legal for local Missouri... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:26:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – The city’s Youth Advisory Council discussed ways to expand a program designed to train people to identify when... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 8:16:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - With Valentine's Day Wednesday and love on the minds of many, the Better Business Bureau is warning of... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:23:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Valentine’s Day may be a day full of chocolate covered strawberries and heart-felt love letters, but some environmental... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 6:16:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are trying again to reduce the duration of state jobless benefits to... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 5:08:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
MOBERLY - The Moberly Police Department is advising all residents to monitor credit and debit transactions after numerous fraudulent transactions... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:51:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - City Manager Mike Matthes broke the silence after a group of people called for his resignation at a... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:17:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- The Board of Education recommended Julia Coggins to be the new principal in the 2018-2019 school year at Lee... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:04:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia residents want better police services -- but not all are willing to fund more resources. According... More >>
6 days ago Tuesday, February 13 2018 Feb 13, 2018 Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:01:00 PM CST February 13, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
10pm 59°
11pm 61°
12am 62°
1am 63°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
10:30p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
11:05p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
9:30p
Seinfeld
10:00p
Seinfeld
10:30p
Rules of Engagement

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
7:00p
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
8:00p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
8:30p
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld