Invasion of Asian Lady Beetles

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

They are known to invade your home, and can be aggressive and bite, Asian Lady Beetles typically invade homes throughout colder months beginning in September through November to find a home for the winter months.

University of Missouri Extension – Oregon County often receives calls about how to deal with these insects as they pose to be a nuisance when there is an infestation.

Asian Lady Beetles are native to Asia including China, Russia, Korea and Japan, where they live in trees and fields and eat aphids and scale insects. However, they also feed on non-pest insects including monarch butterfly eggs and larvae, a species that has a reduced in numbers.

Asian beetle populations have grown in North America and the first field populations were found in the United States in 1988 in Louisiana and spread to include most of the United States and part of Canada.

According to https://entomology.ca.uky.edu, the U.S. Department of Agriculture tried to control agriculture pests, especially those of pecans and apples, by establishing the Asian Lady Beetle. “Large numbers of the beetles were released in several states including Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. No such releases were ever attempted in Kentucky, and their occurrence there is probably due to northward migration from other southern states. Some scientists believe that current infestations in the U.S. originated not from these intentional releases, but from beetles accidentally transported into New Orleans on a freighter from Japan.”

In Asia, the beetles live in forest and orchards and in America they live in ornamental and agriculture plants such as roses, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and tobacco.

Infestations of these insects may cause allergies in some people including eye irritation and asthma. It is suggested to avoid touching one’s eyes after handling the beetles and consult a physician if they are experiencing an allergic reaction. Asian Lady Beetles also pose a risk to a dog’s health.

In 2016, a dog named Bailey became well known after a picture of her circulated of more than 40 Asian Lady Beetles stuck to the roof of her mouth, which had to be removed. Encounters are rare, but it is helpful to know the risk these beetles pose to our beloved furry family members. Because of their size and shape, Asian beetles can become stuck to a dog’s palate. When they are attacked the beetles release a stinky poisonous chemical known as hemolymph, which “is corrosive, can cause chemical burns to the mouth and/or gastrointestinal tract. It also has a strong repellent odor and foul taste,” according to www.petmd.com. A dog is likely to seek water if it swallows the beetles, which helps lessen the beetles becoming stuck in the esophagus.

Some cases of dogs ingesting the beetles have resulted in the dog developing signs of gastroenteritis including vomiting and diarrhea.

Excessive drooling or foaming, not eating and a foul odor in the mouth are warning signs your dog may have had a dangerous encounter with these beetles.

To help keep these pesky insects out of your home, repair cracks and openings such as windows, doors, soffits, fascia boards utility pipes and wires with caulk or other sealants is one of the best ways to prevent the beetles from entering buildings. According to https://entomology.ca.uky.edu, the best time to do this is late spring or summer. Cement urethane foam or copper mesh may be used to seal larger holes.

Other ways to help control the population include vacuuming them if in the house or washing them away from the house with a water hose and clear out vegetation. Some infestations may require insecticides, but not is recommended for indoors. For outside, if the infestation is bad, a professional pest control may need to be hired.

There are more than 5,000 types of ladybugs and more than 400 live in the United States, but not all of them are welcome such as the Asian Lady Beetle and is sometimes misidentified as Ladybugs, which are beneficial to the environment. It may seem difficult at first to distinguish Asian Lady Beetles from Ladybugs, however, a few differences include Ladybugs are bright red with black spots and Asian beetles are a little larger and color may vary from red to orange. The number of spots is also something to pay attention to as Ladybugs commonly have approximately zero to seven spots and may even have stripes. Asian Lady Beetles usually have anywhere from zero to 19 spots that may vary in appearance from faint to well-defined.

Ladybugs are round/oval shape and Asian beetles are longer and have a distinct black M-shape on their otherwise white head while ladybugs are mainly black with small white markings located on the sides of the head.

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