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Size: About 1/3-inch long.
Colour: The multicoloured lady beetle looks very similar to other lady beetles but is generally larger. Its appearance is quite variable, ranging from orange to yellow to red or even black. This beetle typically has 19 black spots on its wing covers. These spots vary from being relatively thick to being no more than faint traces of spots. Some multicoloured Asian lady beetles have no spots at all. There may be fewer spots present when they are faint. There is a prominent black ‘M’ shape behind the head in most specimens. This ‘M’ can look thick, thin or even broken in appearance.
Behaviour: Although multicoloured Asian lady beetles can be a nuisance when they occur in large numbers, they do not damage homes or other property. These lady beetles cannot sting and they do not carry disease. They can pinch the skin and cause minor, short-lived discomfort. They can secrete a strong smelling yellowish liquid from the joints of their legs, a process called reflex bleeding. They use this to discourage predators or at other times when they are stressed. This liquid can also stain light coloured surfaces. Repeated exposure to dead lady beetles can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals.
Habits: In their native Asian habitat, multicoloured Asian lady beetles feed primarily on aphids and other small, soft-bodied insects found in trees. In North America, they feed on insects in trees as well as pests in gardens. In Asia, these insects are usually found congregating in large numbers on white coloured cliffs each fall, to overwinter. In southern Ontario, these lady beetles are often found on the west and south sides of tall or prominent, light-coloured buildings in mid- to late October.
From the exteriors of buildings they crawl under siding and roofing and into cracks and gaps in foundations and around windows, doors and other openings. They may continue to move into the living areas of homes or they may spend the winter inside the attic or wall voids. Mild, sunny winter days can wake these dormant insects. They become active and move into the home’s living quarters. Once spring arrives, the remaining lady beetles wake up and attempt to move outdoors. Not all succeed and many are trapped indoors. Multicoloured Asian lady beetles do not reproduce indoors.
Tips for Control – Prevention is the most effective step in managing lady beetles. Check the outside of your home for spaces and cracks that may allow insects easy entry. Make any necessary repairs by the end of September.
Install tight-fitting door sweeps or thresholds at the base of all exterior entry doors. Gaps of 1/16 inch or more will permit entry of insects. Seal openings where pipes and wires enter the foundation and siding, for instance, around outdoor faucets, receptacles, gas meters, clothes dryer vents, and telephone/cable TV wires. Holes can be plugged with caulk, cement, urethane expandable foam, steel wool, copper mesh, or other suitable construction sealant. Caulk around windows, doors, chimneys and fascia boards, etc. using a high quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk. Repair gaps and tears in window and door screens. Repair screens in roof and soffit vents, and in bathroom and kitchen fans. Keep siding, eaves and soffits in good repair, replacing damaged areas if necessary, to keep the exterior walls as insect-proof as possible.
For insecticides to be effective, they must be applied before insects begin to enter buildings, which is early- to mid-October for multicoloured Asian beetles.
Call the professionals at Kawartha Pest Control For a free no obligation quote.