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Today is May 23, 2022

Take steps now to keep Asian Lady Beetles out!

Spring cleaning does not have to include the cleanup of Asian lady beetles. If homeowners want to check this task off their annual lists for good, they should take steps this summer to ensure these household pests are gone for good.

By Nathan Gregory, Susan Collins-Smith contributed to this story.

Take steps now to keep Asian Lady Beetles out!

Blake Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the best way to avoid future beetle congregations is to keep them out of the house in the first place. 

“Summer is the best time to seal off entry points on the exterior of the home because any hibernating beetles have made their way out of the house,” Layton said. “Depending on location and weather conditions, lady beetles normally begin searching for overwintering sites in October.”

Soffit and gable vents in home attics are common entry points for the beetles, but they will come in any way they can. Any crack in windows, walls or door frames is a welcome mat.

Insecticides are not recommended for control of Asian lady beetles. Proactive sealing is far more effective than insecticides, and it can conserve energy, Layton said.
    When sealing, install sweeps on door bottoms and metal spring strips or weather stripping around door jambs to keep lady beetles from entering at these points. Ensure window screens fit tightly and are not torn. Check for cracks and crevices in brickwork, woodwork, and around door and window casings. Caulk and foam sealant work well to seal small openings or crevices.

    Other areas that can have insect-sized cracks include eaves, ridge vents on roofs, spots where siding overlaps, and entry points for plumbing and other utilities.

    Homeowners who live in wooded areas are more likely to have Asian lady beetles.

“It is no coincidence that most homeowners who face problems with Asian lady beetles and many other insects live in wooded areas,” Layton said. “Asian lady beetles are beneficial because they feed on tree-dwelling aphids, white flies, small caterpillars and other pests.”

However, when the beetles are indoors, they serve no good
purpose and become pests themselves, Layton said.

“They’re a real problem in the fall when they’re trying to come in,” Layton said. “When they get inside and settle in for the winter, you don’t see them until it warms up. Once spring arrives, they’re ready to leave, but many of them tend to get lost in the process and die inside the house. They can cause small stains on walls and wall coverings, and some people are allergic to the dust from the bodies of dead beetles.”

If homeowners miss the summer window for sealing exterior entry points, the best thing to do is try to exclude them from the living areas of the home.

“I tell people who call me about this problem to sweep or vacuum them up while they’re trying to move outdoors in the spring,” Hinds County Extension agent Kyle Lewis said. “I would recommend sealing cracks on the interior of the home to exclude them from coming into the living areas.”

Any time of year is acceptable for sealing cracks on inside walls and ceilings, along with doors and windows that open directly to
the outside. 

“Even if the beetles have already gotten into your attic or wall voids, you may still be able to keep them from getting into your living area,” Layton said. “Seal around electrical outlets, light fixtures, and other holes in interior walls and ceilings. The better you are able to seal the beetles out of your living area, the fewer you will have to vacuum. But don’t overdo it. Be sure to maintain enough ventilation for health and safety.”  

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