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Ladybugs are invading my home. How do I get rid of ladybugs?
Actual reader question: "We have small bugs which look like ladybugs in our kitchen up under the floor counters behind the kick board. I have used bombs and spray to get rid of them and they are still with us. Do I need to remove the counters from the wall? Like I said, they are smaller than a ladybug but look alike."
Answer: I cannot be certain of what your insect species is without looking at a picture, however; based on the time of year this question was asked (late June) I would have to throw a guess and say this is probably Multi-colored Asian lady beetles. These little Asian ladybugs are notorious for invading homes starting in late summer and through October but this can vary by area depending on climate. They also take on a variety of colors and patterns, though I have not heard of their size varying greatly.
As far as getting rid of Asian ladybugs, vacuuming them up seems to be the cleanest and safest weapon of choice. You should probably empty your vacuum promptly after sucking the little critters up because if they survive the process they will inevitably find a way to crawl out.
Prevent future invasions by sealing up every nook and cranny with caulk on your windows, doors and siding. This may not seem practical but we successfully did this with an ant problem.
Also spraying areas of entry with non-toxic mint oil or menthol have been successful in deterring ladybugs.
I don't know if you have children or pets so I don't advise this technique unless you know they will be out of harms way (and you have a serious infestation) but borax (boric acid) is a natural ladybird pesticide. And could be placed in areas where ladybirds are entering.
Have you ever seen mutant ladybugs?
Actual reader question: "Hello! I enjoyed reading through all the information that you have gathered on this site. I've also observed ladybugs in my own yard for many years. This spring, I have noticed for the first time, several mature beetles that are missing most of the right side of their shells. Have you come across this before?"
Answer: I have come across ladybugs similar to this once in a while and seen photographs of fully developed ladybugs that had mishappen or malformed elytra (outer wings). Everything I have researched seems to indicate that this is either a ladybug with a birth defect or an unfortunate mutation.
From an agricultural stand point I know that scientists have actually worked on genetically engineering ladybugs that couldn't fly so they couldn't leave crops. Kind of sad I think. However I think this deals with modifying the ladybug's inner wing.
I would be very interested to see pictures of your curious ladybugs. You are welcome to contribute some in our photography section.
Our photo contributor section: http://www.everything-ladybug.com/ladybug-contribute-photo.html
Thanks so much for sharing this!
Are there harmful insects that *look* like ladybugs (and the larvae also)?
Actual reader question: "Are there harmful insects that *look* like ladybugs (and the larvae also)? I have what I had always assumed were not ladybugs in my backyard, and this time of year, the ugly black and yellow larvae are all over the place. or, might i have the real deal, and didn't realize it? Thanks in advance (central California)."
Answer: I don't know of any harmful insects off hand that look like a conventional ladybug. I know of some imposters that are not local to California, for example: Clytra atraphaxidis (found in Europe - see picture below). But with so many species of ladybug their larvae can vary in color and appearance signifigantly.
We are in central northern California and all the ladybug species we have found tend to have larvae that are black and grey or black and orange/yellow in color (see some pictures below of different ladybug larvae). This time of year ladybugs are mating and larvae are hatching and spreading in gardens and weed patches in California. If you are seeing tons of these little larvae and ladybugs as well, it is most likely the real deal going through the ladybug lifecycle.
Why are ladybugs attracted to light?
Actual Reader Question: "One question about ladybugs -- I get them in my room which I love, but they go into my lamp and I find their little dead bodies. Do they go to the light to die? Or is it because they cant get out and the light provides them heat? Is there anyway I can keep them from dying?."
Answer: Well you are right about ladybugs needing heat. Ladybug's are ectothermic or cold-blooded in a sense. They rely on heat from their enviroment to keep them warm. However, currently the most sound theory suggests that they are mistaking the light for the sun, as do many other insects such as moths, who use the sun as a source of navigation. They key here being that a ladybug can't actually fly into the sun. The best way to prevent this from happening is to prevent them from getting in your house which is addressed in a question above. In the image to the left researchers are using a light trap to catch ladybugs. Read more techniques on how to catch ladybugs on this page.
Ladybugs are in a great abundance right now (Autumn) outside. What does this mean?
Being october, ladybug species congregate together to hibernate. A lot of time in our area the convergent ladybug, hippodamia convergens can be seen huddled together on trees in winter time. In the picture to the left is an example of the hippodamia convergens hibernating in Soberanes Canyon, Garrapata State Park.
In addition to trees they can be can be found on rocks, plant debris, weeds and grasses and will also huddle in mass on light colored houses. Why do they do this? Light colored houses reflect heat.
Are there male ladybugs?
Actual Reader Question: I was told there were no male ladybugs, that they were unique in producing on there own.
Answer: Creatures that produce on their own (no mate) are asexual reproducers. However ladybugs like humans reproduce through sexual reproduction. So yes, there are male ladybugs and in most ladybug species there is no way to tell the difference between the male and female ladybugs without expert knowledge of their anatomy.
Are there yellow and black ladybugs?
Actual Reader Question: This past summer during a family barbeque, I noticed that a large flowering tree/bush in our front yard was covered in aphids and what looked like eggs on the under side of the leaves. I was immediately grossed out (that fear again) and was vowing to call the exterminator or buy some aphid killer. Upon closer inspection of the bush and it's brances I noticed a rather odd looking "worm" type creature that was black and yellow with spiky things on it. Again, plagued with fear, as soon as I spotted one on my front porch (near the bush), I squished it (which was before I found them on the bush). Several of us marveled at the few we found hanging on branches and leaves and wondered just what they were. I thought they were adult aphids (yeah...I don't normally read up on insects), but wanted to know more about the interesting caterpillar I found.
I googled images of ladybugs and searched and then found out that it was a ladybug larvae. HOW COOL!!!!! I'm not afraid of ladybugs, so naturally I wanted to mother these little larvae. Plus, I found out (on Google) that ladybugs eat aphids. Ha! No aphid killer needed!! I'm going natural! :)
Then this past weekend we were pulling up the last of the weeds before the winter and I found the most beautiful yellow and black ladybug ever! This got me wondering if this was just a juvenile ladybug that had grown from the yellow/black larvae and just had not changed to red yet. Am I right or is a yellow/black ladybug another type of ....ahem....beetle? Either way...he/she was still cute and on my nice list.
BTW- lest you think I am a heartless insect killer...
I found a shiny black widow (with a perfect hour glass) in our garage a month ago and put her in a mason jar. I then gave her to my son's science teacher after keeping her for 3 days. She was fun to look at, but I didn't want to open the lid to feed her and I really couldn't catch that dang fly! She's still alive (at the school) and building a beautiful web. The kids and I even named her Charlotte...which is why I couldn't kill her. I had images of a sad looking pig talking to this very knowledgeable spider until I squished it. I do have a heart. ::sigh::
Answer: There are a number of full grown species that are black and yellow so it would be really hard for me to give you a definitive answer on what species it is without seeing pictures. The picture to the left is a ladybug species called psyllobora vigintiduopunctata. But your average orange and red ladybugs who have just finished there pupa stage will come out a solid yellow. Not only that but it is a beautiful glossy yellow and within an hour the spots will begin to appear. If you check out our ladybug life cycle page, you can see a time lapse of the the 7-spotted ladybug, where it is yellow with faded spots at 45 minutes. Then at 16 hours it is still a lighter orange but with dark spots. You may have seen a ladybug like this in transition. If not perhaps it was another species, there are plenty of ladybug species around. There are six ladybug species that I have found just in my garden.
Can you Identify what ladybug species I have?
Actual Reader Question: I'm hoping you can help me ID this ladybug that was on our house. Unfortunately, I don't know if there is more than one that looks like this. I have searched the web and can't find the species. (no picture provided and address information was provided.)
Answer: With all the different ladybug species all over the country, we will really need a picture to start with. Then we can properly help you. If you can capture a picture of one of these ladybugs an email it to us, we would be more than happy to help out. Providing the location where the ladybug was found is helpful as additonal information but we can't use this to ID a ladybug alone.
Are there male ladybugs?
Answer: Creatures that produce on their own (no mate) are asexual reproducers. However Ladybugs like us reproduce through sexual reproduction. So yes there are positively male Ladybugs and in most ladybug species there is no way to tell the difference between sexes with out expert knowledge of their anatomy.
We note some information about this on our ladybug spot page if you would like to know a bit more:
Also we have information on why they are called ladybugs (even though they are not all ladies) here:
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Learn some great facts about ladybugs such as what they are, what they eat, where to find them and much more!
Learn about the anatomy of ladybugs. The most well known part of the ladybug is called the elytra which is the outer hard shell-like wings of the ladybug.
Ladybug Life Cycle
Ladybugs sure grow up fast. Like other beetles they have complex little lives. Learn the phases of a ladybug's life cycle here!
Ladybug for Pest Control
Ladybugs are renowned for their abilities to control a number of pests that eat our plants. Learn the facts about ladybugs & pest control here.
Learn how to attract ladybugs to your yard or property the natural way. On this page we have some info how to get these colorful little beauties to start showing up in your garden.