With colder weather upon us, everyone is looking for a warm place to spend the winter, including some insects.
Asian ladybugs have been in Connecticut since 1994. This species of ladybug hitchhiked a ride on cargo ships to enter the U.S. and has spread around the country.
The Asian ladybug is beneficial, eating aphids on a multitude of crops. It looks like the native ladybug, but has a different behavior.
In fall, the native ladybug overwinters outside in old tree trunks and under rocks. The Asian ladybug, however, has a penchant for buildings.
Every year we watch as these ladybugs invade our house to overwinter. They're attracted to light colored surfaces, so our yellow house doesn't help. So, if repainting your home, consider using a dark color to repel them.
In spite of window screens, ladybugs slip into our house and collect on the ceiling corners.
If you have ladybugs indoors, don't panic. They're harmless. Many will die overwinter from our dry, indoor heat.
If you want to remove them this fall, on a sunny, warm day, collect the ladybugs carefully in a container and let them fly free.
Be careful, though. Ladybugs don't bite, but if stressed they exude a yellow “blood” that can stain furniture, rugs, and curtains.
You can also use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the ladybugs and release them. Don't let ladybugs sit in the vacuum cleaner bag for long or they will decompose and smell.
Since most experts believe the Asian ladybugs are here to stay, they may be another telltale sign of autumn. Colorful leaves, migrating geese, and ladybugs moving into your home.
Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about oak trees. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.