My grandfather’s backyard garden was my favorite hangout as a kid. To me, it was a magical place that attracted all kinds of wonderful creatures like butterflies, hummingbirds, bumble bees, and yes – ladybugs.
As a child, I used to love catching ladybugs in little makeshift bug jars and nets. I would count their spots to find out how “old” they were, and let them crawl around my hands until they saw fit to fly away.
But to my grandfather, who spent countless hours tending to his garden and fretting over wilting flowers and rotting tomatoes, some insects were a pain. Never ladybugs though. “They are the garden’s friends”, my grandfather told me.
For a long time I thought there was just one kind of ladybug. I didn’t realize there were nearly 150 species in the United States and that not all of these species were as beneficial to gardens and homes as I once innocently believed.
Did you know the two most common kinds of red and black beetles we see in gardens are the Asian lady beetle and the ladybird (or what I would consider to be the friendly garden beetle)?
These friendly ladybugs are so popular and helpful to gardens that many garden supply stores actually sell them as natural insect repellents. These guys are carnivores and eat other insects that may harm your garden, like aphids.
Asian lady beetles can also be beneficial to gardens, but they are more aggressive, multiply very quickly, and can even get rid of good ladybugs in the garden. Worse, these kinds of beetles tend to enjoy hibernating in our homes.
But since these two different ladybugs look so much alike, how does one identify the good from bad? It can be tough.
Today, we are going to talk about how you can tell an Asian lady beetle from a ladybug and go over the different ways you can control these types of ladybugs to ensure you are able fully enjoy your home and garden all year round.
Best Ladybug Prevention Tips
The best way to control an infestation is to prevent bugs from getting out of control.
Ladybugs are a delight to find in your garden, but not so much in your home. When I was living in Atlanta, I experienced a very interesting infestation that was initially kind of charming but very quickly turned unnerving.
I was at first thrilled to find a beetle or two in my bathroom. I opened the window and let them go, thanking them for their visit. But eventually, those two turned into six and then twelve. I began finding them in my bed, lined up along my windowsills, and dead in my closet.
This is when I discovered I wasn’t actually dealing with ladybugs at all. I was dealing with the Asian lady beetle. You see, good ladybugs, the ones who eat aphids and help our garden to thrive by offering natural pest control, tend to die off in the fall. Asian lady beetles, on the other hand, hibernate. Many of them take refuge in our homes and other buildings, and can wreak havoc on our daily lives and even be a danger to curious pets by getting stuck in their mouths, causing infections and sores, or even causing ulcers if swallowed.
The best way to handle a lady beetle infestation in your home is to prevent one in the first place, and there are a number of preventative measures you can take to ensure you don’t have to deal with this kind of problem come fall.
The Best Ladybug Prevention Tips Include:
- Prepare Your Home For Winter
Winterizing your home means you don’t allow pests in at all, so you never have to deal with an infestation. Make sure you caulk and seal windows, doorways and other points of entry to ensure everything is sealed off properly.
- If You Like Ladybugs Outside, Plant A Garden
If you like these ladybugs but want to keep them outside, simply plant a garden. Ladybugs prefer gardens to homes anyday. However, if your garden isn’t hospitable to them or you don’t have a garden, they may seek shelter indoors with you. You can avoid this by planting a garden around your home to encourage these little beetles to stay outside.
- If You Don’t Want Ladybugs At All, Plant Mums
Mums are a lovely flower that lady beetles absolutely despise. If you want to keep an Asian lady beetle infestation from happening in your home, plant some mums outside of all entryways. And if you don’t want these ladybugs in your garden, plant a few mums there as well.
- Repel Ladybugs With Cloves Or Bay Leaves
Along with mums, lady beetles also don’t like the scent of clove and bay leaves. These strong smelling spices are especially good deterrents for the Asian lady beetle, which is truly the type of beetle you want to avoid. You can use these spices by simply sprinkling them around entryways, window ledges, and outside of doors to keep beetles from entering.
- Spray Citronella Or Soapy Water Around Your Entryways
Another way to deter these ladybugs is to spray a citronella spray or a sudsy, soapy water spray around entryways and windows. You can even mix water with lemon juice or lime juice, or simply mix water with dish soap. Put your concoction in a spray bottle and give it a little shake, then get to work. This is an easy and inexpensive way to repel Asian lady beetles from entering your home.
Prevention is key when it comes to insect control, but sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do to keep these pests out. Somehow, Asian lady beetles may still find their way into your home or garden.
Let’s talk about what to do if you already have an infestation.
Controlling Ladybugs In The Garden
Ladybugs can be good for gardens, but too many can cause problems.
Remember, ladybugs can actually be quite beneficial for your garden. It’s the Asian lady beetle that can cause problems and infiltrate your home.
Unfortunately, both ladybugs and Asian lady beetles are attracted to and repelled by similar things.
Asian lady beetles are most attracted to gardens that are rich in pollen and have lots of other insects, including aphids.
Unfortunately, you can’t have a garden without dealing with pollen and insects. It kind of goes with the territory.
Still, you can try planting mums, as we mentioned above. Mums are colorful, vibrant plants that these beetles do not like and tend to stay away from.
Another option is to use a type of insect dust called Diatomaceous Earth, which we’ll talk about more below. This is a great insect deterrent for both inside and outside of your home.
You can place it around your entryways and windows, and also use it in your lawn and garden. This powdery insecticide is safe to use around children and pets, but it is deadly to insects, including lady beetles.
That said, and as we’ve mentioned many times, many garden-enthusiasts find these ladybugs to be a friend to their garden. Even the Aisian lady beetle can have its benefits. If you want to keep these guys in your garden but simply control them, just keep an eye on them.
You can remove and relocate them if you wish easily by simply sweeping them up or vacuuming them and placing them elsewhere. Vacuuming ladybugs won’t kill them, which is always nice for us ladybug lovers to keep in mind.
And if you want to keep these guys happy in your garden, even during the fall and winter months when Asian lady beetles like to hibernate, you can get crafty and build some little ladybug houses so they have a place to hibernate safely in their natural habitat.
How To Get Rid Of Asian Lady Beetles In Your Home
Asian lady beetles can’t harm you, but that doesn’t mean you want hundreds of them in your home.
Ladybugs belong in a garden, not your home. Unfortunately, Asian lady beetles tend to head your direction when the temperatures drop, especially if your garden is less than hospitable for hibernation during the winter.
Here’s the thing. Asian lady beetles are not harmful (unless your pets decide to try and eat them, in which case they can get stuck inside their mouths or cause ulcers if swallowed). Still, they are not poisonous, they don’t carry diseases and they really aren’t in the business of destroying your home. Plus, they don’t want to live inside with you forever.
The truth is, the Asian lady beetle prefers being outside, just like any other garden bug. They will only remain in your home as long as it takes for the weather to warm up again so they can get back to their outdoor life.
If you’re not interested in using insecticides or going to a lot of trouble to rid these beetles from your home, then you can always just wait them out, knowing they will eventually leave.
That said, Asian lady beetles reproduce rapidly, so even if just a few of them enter your home, you may wind up with many, many more by the time spring rolls around.
If you want to take care of your infestation, there are a few things you can do.
- Vacuum Or Sweep Them Up
Vacuuming these guys up does not kill them, as we mentioned above. Instead, it seals them into your vacuum bag so you can safely relocate them. Still, before you get to vacuuming, make sure you have emptied your vacuum bag so it is clean and safe for the ladybugs while they wait to be released. You can also simply sweep the bugs up and put them in a jar to relocate them that way as well.
- Use an Insecticide Like Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is that powdery substance we mentioned earlier. This is a safe insecticide to use indoors because it doesn’t harm people or pets. It is made of an organic substance (fossilized and powdered algae) and works by penetrating the Asian lady bug’s exoskeleton, eventually killing them.
However, if you don’t want to use an insecticide and you don’t want to vacuum the bugs up and relocate them, there are some home remedies you can use to get rid of these little red visitors.
Keep reading to learn more.
Home Remedies For Getting Rid Of Ladybugs
Many insects don’t like citrus, so you probably already have natural beetle deterrents in your fruit bowl.
Getting rid of a ladybug infestation doesn’t necessarily require chemicals and sprays. In fact, it is very simple to get rid of these insects by simply using natural products you likely already have laying around your home.
Some Home Remedies You Can Use To Get Rid Of Asian Lady Beetles Include:
- Oil and Soap Spray
- 1 cup veggie oil
- 2 tbsp soap
- Camphor and Menthol
- 1 cup Camphor
- 1 cup Menthol
- ½ cup Water
- Neem Oil Spray
- 1 tsp liquid soap
- 2 tsp neem oil
- 1 quart of water
- Citrus And Soap Spray
- 3 cups water
- 1/4th cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp dish soap
You can also make your own ladybug black light trap. To learn how to make a proper trap, check out the below video.
How To Make An Asian Lady Beetle Black Light Trap
Best Products For Getting Rid Of Asian Lady Beetles Indoors
Getting rid of bugs indoors doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.
If your infestation is driving you mad and you don’t think you can wait it out or make your own concoctions, don’t worry. There are plenty of over the counter products you can use to help get rid of Asian lady beetles inside of your home.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorites below.
Harris Asian Lady Beetle Spray
Since the Asian lady beetle is usually the home invading culprate, we chose this Asian lady beetle spray that specifically works against them.
This is a bug repellent you can use both indoors and out. It is odorless and safe to use on fabrics and carpets and works to not only kill Asain lady beetles, but prevent them from returning. This product also works on other pests as well.
However, read the instructions carefully and keep this product away from children and pets.
Ultrasonic Pest Repellent
I love these ultrasonic pest repellents because they work so well indoors. They are very effective against all kinds of pests, not just Asian lady beetles. They work to prevent your home from becoming infested with spiders, rats, mice, mosquitos, roaches and more.
Best of all, the ultrasonic pest repeller is completely safe and non-toxic.
Cyper WSP Insecticide
This product is an effective insecticide that can be used both indoors and outdoors. It comes in a water-soluble powder that you can mix via the instructions into a spray bottle.
Although it is a chemical insecticide, it is effective on over 30 different kinds of pests including the Asian lady beetle. As with all insecticides, we encourage you to read the directions carefully and keep this product out of reach of children and pets.
Best Products For Getting Rid Of Ladybugs Outdoors
You can use stronger products made of natural ingredients to help keep bugs under control in your garden.
Not everyone wants ladybugs in their garden, and that’s totally understandable. If you want to get rid of these guys in your garden or in your yard, then you should check out some of my favorite products below.
Rescue Disposable Beetle Trap
We love that this trap can be humane and disposable. You can hang it in your garden or around your home to help safely and humanely get rid of not just Asian lady beetles but japanese beetles and other insects as well.
This trap lures bugs in and allows you to safely relocate them to another area so you can help control their presence in your garden. If you want to dispose of the lady beetles, you can leave them and they will die in the trap.
D-Fense SC Deltamethrin
D-Fense SC with Deltamethrin is a powerful and effective tool to use against a Asian lady beetle infestation. It is specifically designed to control these ladybugs outdoors and will also work to reduce the infestation of other outdoor pests as well.
That said, you can use this along the border of your home, including along cracks and crevices, windowsills, and entryways.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ladybugs
Ladybugs are beautiful, but they can also be hard on gardens and homes.
How Do I Spot An Asian Lady Beetle Infestation In My Home?
Asian lady beetles tend to hang out in numbers and will usually congregate in similar areas of homes, including cracks and crevices, wall sidings, between foundations, in windowpane, between door jams, and along your ceiling.
Ladybugs also secrete a yellow colored substance that stains light surfaces. If you notice small, yellow marks on white linens or walls, you may have yourself a little beetle problem.
How Can I Tell The Asian Lady Beetle From A Ladybug?
The Asian lady beetle and the ladybug look very similar, so it can be difficult to tell them apart unless you know what you are looking for. Asian lady beetles tend to be darker orange than ladybugs, which are usually a very bright red color.
Asian lady beetles are also a bit larger than ladybugs and have oval-shaped bodies as opposed to the very round bodies of ladybugs.
Last, and perhaps most telling, Asian lady beetles have a distinct white “M” shaped mark on the top of their head.
Are Ladybug Infestations Harmful To Me or My Pets?
Ladybugs are not usually harmful to humans or pets. However, Asian lady beetles can cause problems for curious pets who try to eat them. If swallowed, an Asian lady beetle secretes a chemical that can cause burning to your pet’s mouth and stomach, and can lead to ulcers and digestive issues.
If you have an Asian lady beetle infestation, check your pet’s mouth thoroughly, paying special attention to the roof of their mouth and under their lips. Also keep an eye on their eating habits. If you notice anything off, contact your local veterinarian.
And while ladybugs don’t have a poisonous bite or carry disease, a severe infestation in the house can lead to heightened allergies in some people.
Will Ladybugs Damage My Home?
No, these little guys do not cause damage like termites. They don’t eat wood or other home materials and won’t deteriorate carpets and linens. That said, they can leave small yellow stains on light colored surfaces, but those stains are easily washable.
Tips On Preventing Future Ladybug Problems
One of these insects is pretty, but too many can be a real problem.
Just because you successfully handle one ladybug infestation doesn’t mean you’ll never have to face one again.
Asian lady beetles return year after year, especially Asian lady beetles who hibernate instead of die during the winter. Plus, they secrete a scent that attracts other Asian lady beetles, essentially telling them that they’ve found a safe and cozy spot to stay for winter.
This means that, if you haven’t gotten rid of this smell in your home after an initial infestation, you are simply advertising to these beetles that they are welcome again in your home next year.
You can prevent a future infestation in your home by following the same preventative measures we mentioned at the beginning of the article.
Make sure you:
- Seal doors and windows
- Clean with citrus sprays and oils
- And vacuum thoroughly
Cleaning with citrus sprays and oils is an especially important tool to use after you’ve had an Asian lady beetle infestation, as the scent will help mask and eliminate the scent these insects release to communicate with one another.
What do you think? Are these guys a good and natural pest control aid for gardens, or would you prefer to keep them away? Tell us below in the comment section.