How to lady bug?
Bright yellow eggs sit attached to a branch. Though they’re vulnerable to predators (including their hatching siblings), many eggs will yield larvae that will go through metamorphosis and turn into ladybugs (coccinellidae), also known as ladybirds and lady beetles. This time-lapse from YouTuber TimVid captures the entire process up close. From NatGeo Kids:
We’ve had luck caring for ladybugs with Insect Lore’s Live Ladybug Growing Kit. These ladybug life cycle figures are also great for classrooms.
Next: Slow motion ladybugs look like they can’t fly before they do.
Plus: The first 21 days of a bee’s life, a time lapse in 64 seconds, the Life Cycle of the Silkworm, and Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis in HD.
- Provide a water source. Try leaving out shallow water bowls and damp paper towels so passing ladybugs are tempted to make a pit stop in your garden for a drink.
- Provide shelter.
- Avoid pesticides.
- Plant decoy plants for aphids.
Ladybugs are not known to be harmful to humans, but they do have the ability to release a noxious, smelly fluid from their joints when frightened or stressed. That odor combined with their bright, spotted wings helps to deter predators. In large numbers, ladybugs are recognized as persistent pests that can become a nuisance if they breach the windows and walls of your home. Sometimes their secretions can stain walls, rugs, and upholstery. Some people are allergic to an Asian species of ladybug that was imported into the U.S., and can develop hay fever or skin reactions from an infestation.
Though a ladybug infestation can be unpleasant, remember that these beetles are quite beneficial when out in the garden. Ladybugs serve as natural pest control, preying on aphids and other insects that damage vegetables and flowers.
Ladybugs find their way inside because they're looking for a shelter in which to overwinter. That means they're searching for someplace warm and dry where they can wait out the cold season, and our cozy homes are perfect for this purpose. You'll occasionally find only one ladybug wandering around inside, but it's also possible to find many. You'll notice these so-called colonies of ladybugs scattered around your home or clustered together in one space, usually nestled in corners of attics or basements or near doors and windows.
Why the colonies? When one ladybug finds its way inside, it has a way of signaling to others and drawing them indoors too. Adult ladybugs can release pheromones, or scented chemical flares that attract other ladybugs nearby. This chemical signal creates a trail that invites other ladybugs in via the same path the first ladybug used. This can also lead them to cluster in one location in your home. In spring, you may see ladybugs that hid inside for the winter reemerging near bright doors and windows.
To counter an infestation, here are a few recommendations.
Of course, a professional pest control company can spray the outside of your home to create a barrier to entry. But to keep ladybugs from entering your house in the first place, Terminix recommends winterizing your home: "Make sure doors have adequate weather stripping and that windows have tight-fitting screens. Caulk all potential openings on the outside of your home. If they never get inside, you won't have to learn how to get rid of ladybugs in the house." When winterizing your home, ensure you address any potential entry points and seal cracks so that none are visible. It's best to do this before the weather cools and ladybugs begin to find their way indoors.
Terminix also recommends using natural repellents to disperse ladybugs. Place a small bag of cloves or bay leaves in the area they are gathering. You can also plant chrysanthemums near windows and entranceways as a natural deterrent. A chemical compound found within the mums acts as a repellent—in fact, pyrethrum-based insecticides are derived from chrysanthemum flowers.
You can use a vacuum cleaner to remove any lingering ladybugs in your home. If they have expired on your windowsills, hardwood floors, or carpeting, you'll want to vacuum them up so that they don't stain paint or fabric. When dealing with live ladybugs, you can vacuum them up in order to relocate them outside. Place a handkerchief between the dust bag and hose to capture the ladybugs, then take the vacuum outside and open it to release them. The suction action of a vacuum cleaner will ensure they don't fly away and make their home elsewhere in your space.
Here are the top ways to get ahead of your ladybug infestation or prepare for a possible infestation.
As simple as it may sound, gathering up ladybugs with a broom and dustpan or vacuum cleaner is one of the easiest ways to remove a colony. For example, vacuum up a large group of ladybugs and immediately empty the vacuum bag or canister outside. Physically relocating the colony will discourage more from joining if the infestation has not grown too large.
After they are removed, wash the area with soap to eliminate any chemical trails used to attract more bugs.
If your infestation has grown out of control and it is too difficult to simply relocate the colony, dish soap is a simple way to get rid of a large range of small bugs in your home. Spray a colony with soapy water or leave a bowl that combines soap and water near a light source where they gather. The thickness of the soap keeps the ladybugs from leaving the water easily.
Hard-to-reach ladybugs can be lifted up with duct tape wrapped around your hand or finger. This allows you to safely remove the colony and relocate them outside. You can also simply leave strips of quality duct tape out to act as an easy trap. We recommend Gorilla Duct Tape and the classic Duck Duct Tape for especially effective removal.
Diatomaceous Earth offers an easy way to kill bugs in your home. The white powder can typically be found online or even at your local home repair store. Sprinkle the powder around your colony or at the edges of common entry points to both deter and eliminate new infestations.
Make a ladybug-friendly light trap at home with common items in your kitchen. Cut a plastic soda bottle in half and flip the top half into the bottom portion to create a funnel. Add an LED light into the funnel, leaving room for the ladybugs to enter the bottom of the bottle. The beetles will flock toward the light but then get stuck in the trap, ready for release outside.
Or save yourself some time by purchasing a Zevo Flying Insect Trap which attracts flying insects with blue light and UV light.
When the fall rolls around, fill your home, garden, and porches with mums—a plant ladybugs particularly hate. Since this is the prime season ladybugs will come looking for a place to stay for the winter, the smell of the mums will deter them from filling your property.
A range of herbs and essential oils can also deter ladybugs from gathering or entering your home in the first place. Be sure to check if these items are safe for pets and children if they are in an easy-to-access location.
In the case of essential oils, dilute a few drops in a carrier oil, a spritzer bottle, or add to your DIY natural cleaning products and apply to areas where the bugs congregate. Some of the best oil diffusers can even prove effective at dissuading ladybugs from the vicinity.
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