Ladybugs, or Ladybird beetles, can be found in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. They are about 0.4 inches long, have 6 legs, antennae and have wings. Depending on the species, they can be red, orange, yellow, brown, or black in color with dark spots.
Did you know that ladybugs use their feet to smell? Did you know that their legs secret a fluid when threatened? Asian Lady Beetles belong to the family of Ladybugs. The Asian Lady Beetle is orange in color and has a W or M shaped black mark on the head. The white spots to the left and right of the face are larger than the ones on other Ladybugs. Asian Lady Beetles hibernate and while they are more common and plentiful then other types, both can infest homes when the weather becomes colder.
Asian Lady Beetles measure about 7mm. Some species have been imported for agricultural reasons, controlling crop pests. Others, however, damage plants by feeding on them. Attracted to light colors, Asian Lady Beetles cluster on house walls and find their way into homes through small holes or cracks. As the climate becomes colder some Asian Lady Beetles enter the attic to hibernate. Worldwide roughly 5000 species are known and appearance, behavior and habits vary across species. The length of the life cycle and diet depend on the type. All species, however, undergo four stages during the life cycle: egg, larval, pupal, and adult. This is called a complete metamorphosis and takes between half and two months.
Spring and beginning of summer is reproductive season and females dispose of their eggs on plant twigs or under leaves preferably on a plant that is infested with aphids or scales. Asian Lady Beetles lay about 1000 eggs and it takes roughly 5 days for them to hatch. If food sources are scarce, larvae feed on eggs. The larval stage consists of four stages itself and completion lasts between one and two weeks.
The following stage is the pupal stage, which marks the development into an adult and can take between three and 12 days. Adults feed on insects and other prey and seek shelter when the weather changes in fall. Ladybug Beetles can create multiple generations annually. Once a ladybug found a suitable overwintering site it produces a pheromone that attracts ladybugs to that place again every year. Additionally, they prefer sunny, contrasting color schemes, and proximity to woods or fields when choosing a house to stay over winter in.
To keep ladybugs outside cracks and gaps in the structure must be sealed and window screens must be intact. The pest control professional can help establish a treatment plan and determine entry points, such as the chimney, roof, vents, and pipes.