Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home!
October 27, 2011 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Ladybugs are cute and even helpful--provided they stay where they belong, in the garden. Now, for the second time this year, they're coming inside where it's warm. Do we have a problem?

In the past few days, I have noticed several (about a dozen) ladybugs inside one of our (high) bedroom windows, and a few dead ones on the carpet underneath the window.

I noticed this same problem in the early spring this year, same spot, but the numbers never got bigger than maybe 20 ladybugs, and as soon as the weather warmed up, they went away.

But now that it's getting colder again, they are back. Not a lot of them--at least, not visible to us--but if there's a problem, I want to nip it in the bud before it becomes a full-on infestation (if we don't already have a hidden one). We don't have an attic. The bedroom window is very high--about 10' from the floor (bedroom has cathedral ceilings) and is situated about 3' from the bottom edge of the roof. From the outside (bedroom balcony), I can't see anything that looks out of the ordinary, but the roof is extremely steep and impossible for my husband or I to access.

Has anyone else had this problem, and if so, what did you do to fix it?
posted by parkerama to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
It's possible this is the Asian Lady Beetle, which can reach pest status. Read more here.
posted by batmonkey at 12:35 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's a seasonal thing - they're looking for a place to go dormant over the winter. One of my friends had a house that they really liked. Here's some more info.
posted by Miko at 12:35 PM on October 27, 2011

This is fairly normal laby bug behavior, at least around my parts. We vacuum them up (alive and all) and go on with our day.

A few years ago (6 or 7) Lady Bug population just exploded. They made so many babies it was unbelievable. I think we must have filled a whole vacuum bag with them.

The following year it was back to normal.

Call your local pest control experts and ask if that many lady bugs is normal for your area, or if you might have a problem and how you might find out if you do.
posted by royalsong at 12:36 PM on October 27, 2011

Best answer: As batmonkey says, it may help searching on harmonia axyridis a.k.a. "false ladybug" or "multicolored asian lady beetle."

Your best bet is to seal any openings as best you can. Get some fine mesh, screws, and a can of spray foam. Sorry.
posted by introp at 12:37 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks batmonkey. I have been feverishly reading up, trying to figure out what to do--and I have inspected a few of the dead ones and they really, really look like ladybugs, even though Asian Lady Beetles look very similar. But I'm no expert.
posted by parkerama at 12:37 PM on October 27, 2011

Best answer: I would bet money these are not "true" lady bugs, but rather Asian Lady Beetles. Here's a page that has some good info. My basic experience? You cannot defeat them, you cannot control them, but you might be able to just barely contain them. Vacuum them up regularly, avoid squishing them (they stink), and wash your hands thoroughly after handling them. They are a pain.
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:37 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Are they red like this, or orangy?
We had tons of the Asian (orange) ladybugs when we lived in Maryland. They seemed to be able to crawl through closed windows. They never seemed to do any harm, but I'd have to vacuum up hundreds of them from the window sills every month.
Don't wear white during mating season...
posted by MtDewd at 12:38 PM on October 27, 2011

Response by poster: Wow, great comments so far, thank you. MtDewd, they are quite red, which is why I *think* they are actually ladybugs - but the link that cosmicbandito sent showed the Asian Lady Beetles as having varied colours. Fantastic.
posted by parkerama at 12:43 PM on October 27, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Tonight I'm going to vacuum them up (taking care not to squish their stinky bodies) and get Mr. Parkerama to improve the seal on the window.

And I guess I'll have to stay diligent with the vacuuming too.

Many thanks!
posted by parkerama at 1:09 PM on October 27, 2011

Whe I got invaded by harlequin ladybirds (probably the same thing as Asian Lady Beetles) in England, they were mostly red and black, but never had quite the right number of spots to be a normal ladybird. And they didn't just smell if squished - I don't think I squished any! - but actually sprayed me with something slightly vinegary when I was trying to put them back out of the window. Good luck getting rid of yours!
posted by Lebannen at 1:23 PM on October 27, 2011

Um, I host them. I live in an old flat, and there's absolutely no way I could keep them out even if I tried. So I don't try.

I feel kind of honored that they shelter with me. Clusters hibernate in my window casings. On sunny days in the winter, they'll wake up, crawl out onto the window sills and parade sleepily about - the cat and I like to watch them, and their colors are very cheerful in the gray murk of say, February.

We get all kinds of color and spot number combinations... no idea exactly what they are. But I don't care. They eat bugs I consider pests and don't harm me, my cat or my soft furnishings. ;) They didn't show up one year and I really missed them.
posted by likeso at 1:38 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

We get them every year too -- by the thousands. Some crackpot on the interweb told us that burning sage smudge sticks would drive them away. It helps a little bit I guess, but not a whole lot. It does smell nice though, and apparently it helps drive away evil spirits too, so there's that.
posted by spilon at 2:05 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding the vacuum approach. We had a few hundred in the house last year that I dispatched with the vacuum. This autumn, I've only seen ten or so.
posted by yellowcandy at 4:55 PM on October 27, 2011

Response by poster: P.S. A thorough vacuuming (with crevice tool) followed by silicone sealant around edges of window = no more ladybugs so far (it's been about 4-5 days). Yay!
posted by parkerama at 9:15 PM on November 3, 2011

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