Warm Fall Weather Sending Ladybugs into Area Homes

The insects seek out local homes to find a place to shelter from the oncoming winter season

FARGO, N.D. — Our recent stretch of warm days has activated a swarm of ladybugs across the valley.

The insects are looking for a place to ride out the winter months, and many are choosing local homes.

The weather in October can shift quite a bit, even with a single day.  The drastic swings in temperature are a signature of fall and are a signal for ladybugs to seek shelter for winter.

“What activates them is cold nights and then warm, sunny days.  Bright colored houses, south exposure is where you see them showing up,”  said Don Carey, research assistant at NDSU.

Although you may be tempted to squash a ladybug, if it does enter your home, experts say that could be doing more harm than good.

“They stink, they small bad when you crush them, so they secrete a liquid that helps them ward off predation from birds and other things.  That’s the big challenge, you don’t want to go around smashing these things,” said Ben Prather, director of Vector Control.

Insecticides could be an option for some, but experts say that may not be effective either.

“I emphasize not to spray insecticides, you can – that is an option, you can use inside bombs – I wouldn’t do it because this time of year it is hard to vent and it probably wouldn’t work that well – they’re in the walls, they’re not outside the walls,” said Carey.

Prather says the best thing you can do is simply sweep up the insects and toss them outside.

“I recommend just using a dust buster, going around and trying to suck those insects up – either releasing them from those containers or from your vacuum cleaner or putting them in a steel garbage bag and throwing them out with your typical kinds of trash,” said Prather.

Carey reminds everyone that the ladybugs may be a pest, but they’re not a threat to your health.

“They’re a nuisance but they’re harmless,” said Carey.

Experts say that no ladybug varieties carry any diseases, but the larger, Asian variety has been known to bite people on occasion.

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