Attack of the Ladybugs!

By: By Carly Porter
By: By Carly Porter

Ladybugs have been anything but lucky for those unfortunate enough to have their homes inundated with swarms this fall.

When the weather turns much cooler through the night, but warms during the day, the ladybugs are triggered to hide and prepare for winter.

The insects have been seen crawling alongside the sides, windows, doors and crevices of homes in the Northeast and Midwest.

Recent cold and snowy conditions throughout the Northeast, followed by weeks of warmer temperatures, have resulted in more severe infestations this season.

It is these extreme variations in weather that send the beetles toward warmer places, such as homes and other buildings.

Ladybugs are actually a type of beetle, and the Asian lady beetle is one of the most infamous culprits of these home invasions. In the same family as the common ladybug, the species was first introduced into the United States from several Asian countries in order to deal with crop damaging aphids. Expert Senior Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said he has to deal with Asian beetles in his home every year, and even his pets don't want to go near the pests.

"I'm sweeping the garage every hour," he said. "The seem to find themselves in the smallest cracks. Even the molding in the door." Facebook fan Kathy said she also has to deal with the seasonal pest.

"Boy, they are a pain," she wrote. "The outside of our house is covered with them on these warm fall days, and they always find their way inside no matter how careful we are."

According to the Entomology Department at The Pennsylvania State University, the critters are attracted to the south-west facing sides of structures that reflect sunlight. It is inside the warm walls of residences that the lady beetle calls home when cold weather strikes.

Similarly, in their native Japan, the bugs fly to the sun-warmed south-facing cliffs during the winter.

The pests cause little damage to homes, but can secrete a yellow odorous chemical that discolors and causes spotting to some surfaces. A select few can have an allergic reaction to this chemical, prompting skin irritation and sinus problems.

If beetles have already entered your home, it is advised to sweep the bugs with a vacuum and use dark colored tape to seal cracks. When securing your home, keep in mind that the pests are attracted to light-reflecting materials.

Insect experts suggest staying away from insecticide use, as it is often ineffective after a few days use.

Caulking around windows and other openings and replacing ripped screens are also preventative measures from the lady beetle.

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