Thursday, November 9, 2017

Invasion of the Asian Ladybugs

I am so distraught!  My house has been invaded by a swarm of invasive Asian ladybugs.  It happens in the Fall after a hard frost on a day when the weather suddenly turns warm.  Last year we did not have any and I wrongly assumed they were gone.  This past week was unusually mild and all the ladybugs in the woods decided they wanted to move into my house to hibernate for the winter.  I did not welcome them.

They are not native to America but were introduced as a biocontrol to eat aphids by my STUPID GOVERNMENT but I RARELY see them in my garden since they prefer woods.  They have devoured the native, non-aggressive ladybugs and they stink and bite.  Yes, they have bitten me on many occasions.  Once inside your house, they release pheromones so future generations will know it is a good place to move.  The stench emitted is a foul-smelling yellow chemical which stains.  This is the threshold of my front door.

The picture below on the left is the siding on my house where they have left a chemical trail as they wandered aimlessly looking for an entrance.  It will require hand scrubbing to remove.  On the right is a close-up of the textured ceiling in my living room.  Three years ago I had to paint it to cover all the stains because I was scrubbing the texture off.  Hopefully, this new paint will clean easier.

Why me?  I have everything they want.  They are attracted to white and light.  Their favorite spot is the sunny side of a light building on top of a hill which is close to woods but not surrounded by shade trees.

Yep, lucky me.  I have everything.

The first day of their arrival, I spent battling.  On the second, I took these pictures.  The fourth day they were gone, leaving the dead corpses of their fellow comrades piled high on the battlefield.  I knew from experience it was only a lull in the battle.  The weather turned cold and cloudy so they hunkered down awaiting reinforcements.  They will return on the next sunny day and I am ready.

This is only one day of bodies because we had swept the porch the evening before.
First, what does not work.

* Calling a professional pest extermination company.  They only shake their head and walk away.
* Vacuuming causes them to emit their stinky chemical and the smell will make you gag.  When the vacuum is off, they crawl back out of the hose.
* Burning citronella candles or other scent repellents. It makes no difference.

Over the years I have learned how to fight and these are my weapons of choice.

As much as I hate using chemical poisons on my home, this is a necessity.  We have tried many brands of concentrated bug sprays and this is what we had in the garage.  I have discovered new, more powerful brands and plan on trying them.  We pour it in a pump sprayer and cover the outside of the house.  We don't spray the inside living areas.  As they walk over the siding, the residue sticks to them so they usually die within a day or two.  Good news, bad news.  Good news is they are dead.  The bad news is their stinky corpses are left everywhere.

They crawl all over the windows then get stuck on the screens and die.  When I look out my windows all I see are dead ladybugs and poison streaking down the windows.  Scooter is peering through the cloudy bug covered bedroom window.

My house has siding above a concrete foundation.  They were entering through this electrical wiring access and crawling into an electric plug.  It clogged up the outlet with dead bodies and created a fire hazard.  I sprayed an expanding foam which sealed the area between the siding and the foundation closing any tiny gaps.  It worked

The area around my garage door has small gaps, plus they fly in when we raise the door as the car exits.  I use a bug bomb in my garage and attic at the beginning and another at the end of the invasion season.  It seems to deter but not stop them.  Those that live through the winter will return next year and bring their family.

Since I have sealed the foundation with the expanding foam, we don't have many who get inside the basement. When they do get in, they follow the light up the steps to the second story.  I keep a towel by the door and will see a few dead ones on the top step when the door is opened.

They were coming into my laundry room through the duct work for the first time last week so I taped it up.  I think there is a new hole where it passes through the garage so it will be checked and repaired soon.   

My front door is old and crooked with gaps around it.  I have taped it completely shut with blue painter's tape.  I like using it because it does not leave any type of residue. When we open the door it makes a loud ripping sound but keeps the ladybugs out.  

No matter how much I secure the house, they still get in.

When they make it inside the house, they fly up onto our nine-foot ceilings.  I can't reach them so Bill knocks them into a tall plastic cup of soapy water to drown.  They also fly to the windows where we use a  paintbrush to sweep them into the cup.

Poor Scooter.  He hates them too.  We shove him out the door then he runs back because they swarm him.  He is everything the ladybugs want:  light colored, warm and with plenty of cozy fur for hiding. 

"OH NO!"
It angers me that all these problems were caused by someone who was selfish and not thinking.  "They" wanted to save money on pesticides but now I am forced to spend "my" money on pesticides.  Anytime an aggressive species is imported, disaster will follow.  Every time the government does something, it turns out to be horrible for someone.  It's called "an unintended consequence".  This time native ladybugs, Scooter and I must bear the pain of this unintended consequence.


  1. These pictures shocked me! That is indeed a real plague. At least
    this invasion did not happen on the day when you had the meeting with
    the ladies of your Garden Club. Your house seems to be a magnet for these pests. I hope, when the weather cools down, this nuisance will

    1. Two years ago they DID arrive on the very day of my garden club. We had planned a tour of the garden but had to cancel it. Some of them have the same problem and were very understanding. Other ladies live in subdivisions where the houses are close together and they don't have any at all. I think I will change my meeting date next year to another month.

  2. À décade or do ago thus happened in Ontario. Also brought in by STUPID government to try and control aphids. Ugh.

    1. So it appears stupidity is not exclusive to only my (USA) government.

  3. Holy Crap! What a mess.....We have them,too, but they must not like our weather as much as yours because they aren't as prolific here.....I understand your hatred of pesticides. They don't discriminate but, sometimes that's the solution. It drives me crazy that so many non-native plants and insects are pushing out natives.
    Regarding soap making....I want to encourage you to try it....It's fun and satisfying. Yes, you have to be careful and precise. Look at Soap Queen tutorials on utube and if you like books, I bought Natural Soap Making by Elizabeth Letcavage in Hobby Lobby. It's a great book for beginners.

    1. I have subscribed to the Soap Queen's channel, oh my. She knows how to make everything. It seems I will be spending more time watching Youtube. Just what I don't need to do.

  4. When we lived in our house out in the country, we had ladybugs that hibernated in Ja'Ana's room. It was part of the old house that was left during the big remodel we did, and they liked that room the best--probably their life-long stomping grounds. Anyway, they would crawl down on her as she was sleeping--yuck!! These were not as big as yours, and not as numerous, and not as aggressive, but....double yuck!! So, we vaccuumed them up regularly. They did stink, but I just plugged the vaccuum cleaner pipe with tissue after each vaccuuming. They also swarmed all over the room directly beneath--also part of the old house. When I was giving piano lessons in there, I remember one little girls who was very young and just couldn't ignore them, so we had to stop and catch a few for her to take home--then carried on. I started vaccuuming right before the students arrived, so only a few were present:)

    We also used to get box elder bugs that swarmed all over our house each fall. Sometimes they came in, but not to the extent that the ladybugs did.

    1. Stuffing a tissue into the vacuum tube, duh. What a simple solution. Right now they have stopped swarming because the weather is cold. It got down to 29 last night so they are hunkered down out in the woods planning their next maneuver. I know they will return because we swept the porch and washed some of the windows. They always return when the porch is clean. Tomorrow I will be bug bombing the garage and attic so I will be ready!!!!!!!

      Tell Ja'Ana I had one fall into my coffee cup and sink to the bottom. I didn't know it was there until the last sip. It was horrible. I screamed and started spitting. The boys all came running to see what was wrong, then they laughed. I still don't think it is funny.

      Never heard of box elder bugs so I had to look it up. I finally found a bug I that hasn't bothered me. It feels like they are all out to get me.

  5. Ja'Ana feels sorry for you:)

    About the tissue in the vaccuum cleaner hose....just don't forget to take it out when you vaccuum again:) It kind of clogs things up if you leave it there:( We also suck up bees that sneak in, and even flies in the summer if they get in the house. We can only catch them early in the morning, though, when they are not moving fast.