Ladybugs, otherwise known as lady beetles and ladybird beetles (or if you are feeling fancy, Coccinellidae), are a common house pest and known to show up in homes when the weather gets cold and those temps dip down in the lower digits. What should you do if you find ladybugs in your house?
If you see ladybugs in your home, vacuum or sweep them up, and clean off stains and smells they leave behind. You’ll want to ladybug proof your home by sealing off entry points and cracks that they may be entering from. Luckily, ladybugs do not generally cause issues in your home.
Ladybugs, while stinky, are not the enemy. They actually can be very helpful in a garden, but they invade homes in large numbers and can make a mess. However, there are very simple ways to get these little creatures out of your home and into the outdoors.
Ladybugs and Asian Lady Beetles: Which One Do You have In Your House?
Long story short, no, they are not the same. They both belong to the beetle family, both look very similar, and have very similar defense mechanisms, but no, they are not the same.
This question gets asked a lot when people have an infestation of some sort of beetle. Is it a ladybug or an Asian lady beetle? Does it matter?
The ladybug (Coccinellidae) differs from the Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) in a few different ways. Their names give away that they are probably from two different places. The Asian lady beetle comes from Asia, while the ladybug comes from Europe.
Although they are from two different places, they both were brought to the United States (actually all of North America) for the same reason: pest control. More specifically, to control aphids.
These beetles, both Asian lady beetles, and ladybugs are amazing at controlling aphid populations. One of these little beetles can eat up to 5,000 aphids in its lifetime, according to the University of Kentucky. They do not stop there either; they eat mealybugs and scales too, which can be big pests.
Aphids can be a big problem because they like to eat plants and the fruit that comes from plants, which can render them useless if their buds or fruit are eaten off continuously. After introducing these beetles, the aphid problem drastically reduced, but unfortunately, now we have a beetle problem.
Ladybug And Asian Lady Beetle Facts Differences
Ladybugs and Asian lady beetles both look very similar. They are both usually orange or red with black dots. Until you get close, there’s no good way to tell the difference between the two of them.
When you get close, Texas A&M recommends looking at their little, tiny heads. An Asian lady beetle has a distinctive “m” or “w” on its head section (depending on which direction you are looking at them from).
These beetles are usually some variation of reds, yellows, oranges, or pinks, with black spots on them. The bright colors warn predators not to come near them, making them undesirable.
Ladybugs and Asian lady beetles are known as friends, but “friends that have worn out their welcome”. They protect decorative plants in your home but come with a lot of baggage as well.
Ladybugs Vs. Asian Lady Beetle smell
Both ladybugs and Asian lady beetles are known for how stinky they are. They release a yellow-orange liquid when they feel frightened or when they pass. This fluid is their defense mechanism, which not only smells awful but tastes awful to predators.
Predators are more likely to leave these bugs alone after they release this fluid when frightened or threatened. It does not hurt the beetle at all to release it, so they do it whenever they feel the least bit worried.
This fluid can stain fabrics and your skin. If you are ever using your hands to remove these beetles, wear some sort of glove because it will protect your skin from staining.
Ladybugs Vs. Asian Lady Beetles In Your home
They are often seen as a nuisance and annoying rather than an actual issue. These beetles climb inside when it gets chilly outside, looking for a nice, warm, safe place to hibernate. They would usually do it outside under some tree bark or the siding of a home, but if they can get into a home with some warmth, they will.
Ladybugs are not likely to harm your dog unless, again, your dog has an allergy to them. The fluid they give off is not harmful to dogs. However, if a dog takes a bite out of a large group of them, they might have a swollen tongue from beetle bites.
You are more likely to see Asian lady beetles inside because they prefer it, while ladybugs prefer the outdoors. Though both are just as capable of infesting your home in large numbers. Also, they are creatures of habit, so if they invade once, they have a high chance of invading again.
Lucky enough, even if they invade, they are not likely to breed or have offspring in your home. Meaning, the ones you can see are the only ones you are dealing with (thank the heavens).
If you want to learn even more interesting things about ladybugs, consider reading 30 Amazing Ladybug Facts You Probably Didn’t Know. They are fascinating creatures, and a few new bits of information are always good too!
What To Do If You Find A Ladybug In Your House
1. Go Get Your Vacuum Cleaner
If you see an influx of ladybugs in your home, the easiest thing you can do to get rid of them is to suck them up in the vacuum cleaner and immediately throw out the bag. This helps keep them from coming back out of the bag and into your house.
If you do not have a vacuum, you can also sweep them up and use a dustpan to throw them out. If you do this, be aware they are more likely to spray their stinky protectant fluid because you are more aggressively handling them than if you were to just suck them up with a vacuum.
2. Get Rid of the Smell and Stains they Left Behind
You can use dish soap to get rid of the stains and smells ladybugs might have left behind quite easily. Just use a bit in your mop bucket if there are stains on the floor. If it is on furniture or fabric, use a little of it on a rag and clean it off.
The soap can take care of the smell, but also you can use deodorizers like baking soda or just a plain old candle or air freshener can help get rid of it.
3. Ladybug Proof your Home
Ladybugs come back to where they have nested before, so if you have had a problem, chances are you are going to have one again. Use the following tips to help ladybug proof your home to save you time in the future.
You can learn about the most common places that ladybugs enter your house here.
5 Ways To Keep Ladybugs and Asian lady Beetles Away
When you are trying to get rid of these little creatures, your best bet is to make it as hard as possible for them to come inside. These beetles are tiny, itty bitty things, so they can come in any crevice or crack your home might have, let alone open doors and windows.
There are a few easy steps to make it harder for beetles to get inside during the winter months. For starters, if you have window AC units, take them out as soon as you are done using them and ensure the window they were in now has a tight seal.
Next, make sure all of your windows have good, strong screens with a tight seal and the windows do not have any drafts or cracks and leaks around them. If they do, you can use caulk to close them up.
Check the weep holes in bricks to make sure they cannot get in through them and check your dryer vents. You can put a metal (stainless steel preferably) mesh over them to help keep the beetles from coming in. Just make sure you have a fine mesh so the bugs do not fit through the openings.
Install weather stripping around your doors and make sure they are also all good and crack and crevice-free, just like your windows. You can use caulk for these too or expanding foam if you have a big enough area for it.
If you cannot figure out where the bugs are coming from, you can use a less permanent solution and put tape over openings to see if it slows down the stream of beetles. If it does, then use a more permanent solution.
You can also try using their sense of smell against them. For more information on scents they avoid, read 9 Scents That Ladybugs Hate (And How To Use Them)
2. Move Trees and Shrubs Away From Your House
If you can, you should probably move trees and shrubs away from your home. Beetles like to live under the bark of them, so if the tree or shrub butts right up against the house, the beetle is likely to see how much nicer it is inside and move in.
Pruning shrubs and trees you cannot move can help a lot. However, just making it so the tree does not touch the house, or even just moving the tree away from the house by a foot or so, can help reduce the chances of beetles moving into your home.
In the same sense, move things like firewood away from the house, too. Beetles love to live in bark, especially in a fallen tree where the bark is looser and easier to get into. Move firewood or fallen tree limbs away from the house to distance the beetles from the warm interior of your home.
3. Use UV Lights
UV lights (ultraviolet lights) can be very useful in helping to get ladybugs out of your house. Do not get this confused with bug zappers, however.
You do not want to use a bug zapper to get rid of ladybugs because when they are exterminated; they secrete their stinky liquid. If it gets heated by the zapper, it is even more unpleasant.
When using ultraviolet light, make sure you put it in a place without competing light, so the beetles will fly over to it. Beetles, much like any other insect, are attracted to lights in the dark, so they will fly their little wings over to the light to check it out.
Once there, you should have a sticky trap for flies out for the beetles to land on. This way, when they secrete their stinky liquid, it goes onto the sticky trap and is easily disposed of without staining or sticking to any surfaces.
Morpilot Black Light is a great option for ultraviolet light because it is small, compact, and affordable. All you would have to do is hang it upside down from a fan or light fixture at night with a piece of string and hang your flypaper or sticky trap under it.
20 Pack Sticky Fly Paper Roll is a great option because it is affordable as well and it has multiple packs, so you can do this in multiple rooms of your house if need be.
4. Build LadyBug Houses
I know what you are thinking. What is a ladybug house? A ladybug house is almost like a birdhouse, equipped for ladybugs when they want to hibernate. It is made of wood to help imitate burrowing under the bark.
This can help ladybugs find a more suitable place to live other than your home. You can put this outside in high-traffic areas to help stop the flow of ladybugs into your home by diverting them to the ladybug house.
This might not stop your problem for good, but some people swear by them according to the University of New Hampshire. They are a good place to start.
Niteangel Natural Wooden Insect Hotel is a great option. It’s cute, small and could easily pass as a lawn decoration. It also has an iron roof, which will help keep the wooden structure safe from water damage.
If it happens to be cold outside, you may have some qualms about evicting these pretty insects. To ease your mind, check out Should You Put Ladybugs & Ladybirds Outside? 3 Things To Consider. Choosing with more information always helps!
5. Use Insecticides
Insecticides are not usually suggested for ladybugs and Asian lady beetles because if you exterminate a bunch of ladybugs, you are going to have a bigger issue. The powerful smell from ladybugs attracts carpet beetles, and if you get rid of them all at the same time with extermination, there will be a strong, pungent smell.
Carpet beetles are another monster, much more harmful than a ladybug or Asian lady beetle. They eat more than just plants in your home, they will go for things like stored goods and animal food.
Penn State recommends using insecticides only outside and never inside for this very reason. Use it outside and spray it on doorways and window ledges or anywhere else you think the beetles might come in.
You should look for insecticides with active ingredients like synthetic pyrethroid or neonicotinoid. Spray this on your windows in September (or early fall) as a preventative measure.
Mighty Mint – 16oz Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil is a more eco and family-friendly option as it is non-toxic and safe for pets and children to be around. It also repels a plethora of pests with its powerful mint scent.
That’s A Wrap
All in all, ladybugs and Asian lady beetles are not bad things to have around if you are a gardener or someone who has a lot of houseplants. However, they are a bother because of their stink and the stains they can leave on your furniture, clothes, and skin.
By using these simple tips above, you should be able to not only get rid of the problem you have now but also get rid of the problems you might have in the future with them through preventative measures.
You can learn more about ladybugs in our article: 30 Amazing Ladybug Facts You Probably Didn’t Know!
Evans, Edward W. and Snyder, William E.. “Ladybugs”. Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions, edited by Daniel Simberloff and Marcel Rejmanek, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011, pp. 400-404.
Evans, E.W., Soares, A.O. & Yasuda, H. Invasions by ladybugs, ladybirds, and other predatory beetles. BioControl 56, 597–611 (2011).
Kusum Sharma, Susan B. Muldoon, Michael F. Potter, Hobert L. Pence, Ladybug hypersensitivity among residents of homes infested with ladybugs in Kentucky,Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology,Volume 97, Issue 4,2006, Pages 528-531,ISSN 1081-1206,
Michelle S.S. Amaral, Philip J. Marriott. (2019) The Blossoming of Technology for the Analysis of Complex Aroma Bouquets—A Review on Flavour and Odorant Multidimensional and Comprehensive Gas Chromatography Applications. Molecules 24:11, 2080.