Ladybugs in Ohio – Information and Facts
Official State Insect of Ohio
Ladybugs are members of the Coccinellidae Family of beetles. The Convergent Lady Beetle is Ohio’s official state insect. It is also the most common ladybug. Ladybugs are a very popular insect in Ohio, especially with children. They were made the State of Ohio’s official state insect for its beautiful markings.
Ladybirds or Ladybugs?
We call them Ladybugs, even though they are not a true bug. We are the only country that calls them ladybugs. Everywhere else, they are properly called lady beetles. Another common name is ladybird.
There are many species of ladybugs in Ohio, some are native. They have voracious appetites for soft bodied insects. Both the larvae and adults feed on arthropods. Eggs are laid near a food source, most commonly in aphid colonies. Much of their prey are considered major agricultural pests. For example, whitefly, thrips, and scale insects.
Since ladybugs feed on these harmful plant feeding insects, many consider them to be beneficial insects. An average ladybug can eat around 4000 aphids in their lifetime. Additionally each larva consume an average of 400 aphids. For this reason they are often used as a biological control. They have earned the nickname “Gardener’s Best Friend” for good reason.
Ladybugs Inside Your Home
Ladybugs can be fun to have around the garden. The multicolored Asian ladybird beetle was introduced to the United States. Originally its purpose was as a biological control against aphids and scale insects. Thanks to this species, we not only do you get to enjoy ladybugs in our gardens, within your homes as well!
Since the early 1990’s, these beetles started becoming a nuisance. Too many were found congregating on windows, doors, and decks. Now they inundate our homes from October through April. In their native home of Japan, they overwinter in rock outcroppings and cliffs. In Ohio, they mimic this by winter shelter within our homes. They are attracted to the South sides of structures. Mainly since that side is warmed by the sun. Once a sunny warm day follows a cold night, they congregate on our homes. In Cleveland, this mainly happens around the first of October. Typically they are attracted to white painted exteriors.
Problems Resulting from Indoor Infestations
It is very difficult to control this pest once thousands are inside your home. During the warm sunny days of winter they come out of their hiding places. As they enter the living space, they collect around windows. They will even land on occupants. This species of lady beetle will bite. Bites cause pain and can cause a skin reaction to sensitive individuals. Since they overwinter in such large numbers, carcasses accumulate within structures. These insect shells are known to cause sinus irritations. Additionally when you crush them, they give off a foul odor. Resulting body fluids can stain surfaces.
Controlling Multicolored Asian Ladybird Beetles
Most importantly, you should exclude them from coming into the home. Although sealing entry points should only be done in summer. Delay sealing a home until May in Ohio. And do not seal them in after September. Keep in mind that you really only need to seal the South and South West sides of a structure. Be sure to use high grade sealants for smaller entry points. Also make sure vents are screened properly. Especially focus on sealing around gaps around soffits and chimneys. Or anything painted white!
Alternatively, chemical controls can be used to control ladybugs as they congregate on the exterior of the structure. Most store bought pesticides are pyrethroids. Pyrethroids are repellent by nature, which will reduce the amount of ladybirds from entering the structure. Also of benefit, is a properly timed application of essential oils. Most essential oils used in pest control are also repellents. Not only do they kill on contact, they have a residual that lasts just long enough.
Once ladybugs are inside, there is not much you can do. Some level of control can be gained by dusting into wall voids. Be sure to focus your efforts in the attic too. If there is no air circulation being transferred into occupied areas from infested attics and other voids, then dichlorvos products may be an option. These products kill through a vapor action. ALWAYS READ THE PESTICIDE LABEL BEFORE USING ANY PESTICIDE.
Powder Traps are a nontoxic option for ladybugs around windows. These traps are structured with the insects’ natural habits in mind. Lures attract ladybugs into the traps. A powder within the trap acts like quicksand. Insects drop through the powder, and cannot get back out.