Questions and answers sent via e-mail

Disclaimer: I will answer any question to the best of my knowledge or experiences.

Also, I you ever have anything to add, dispute, refute, etc., please write insect@ptd.net and I will pass on the information. Like I said earlier, information I have is either for other sources or my own experiences.

New Update, June 23, 2003

I have gotten an overwhelming number of emails about the Asian ladybug beetles this year.  If anyone has digital pictures they would like to send, that would be appreciated.

 

It was really unusual for me to get reports of the beetle infestations from much colder northern states.  Here in Pennsylvania, with moderate winter temperatures, we have not seen a lot here.

 

I am reading more and more about the biting of the beetles.  There are now more explanations about the biting.

 

Although I have not come across any formal scientific papers about the beetle bites, I have found several generally accepted “givens” about the bites.

 

Most entomologists are saying the “bites” are either from the mandibles or if their legs.  Either way, people who react to insect bites are reacting to the Asian ladybugs, either by “bite” or fluidic reations.

 

These beetles have powerful jaws, but they also have equally powerful leg parts.

 

First, they are not malicious “bites”.  I have read that the “biting” is a way for them to assess their surroundings.  I have also heard that they don’t like being molested.

 

Second, do not crush them, all ladybugs exude a foul smelling fluid and that liquid does stain.

 

It may also aggravate allergies.

 

Third, in large numbers these insects, like any insect whatsoever, have been found to aggravate allergies when they are in large numbers in a house.

 

Fourth, I no longer recommend chemicals for killing them because 99.99% of people misuse them and put themselves and their children and family in more danger with these chemicals.

 

Hire a professional exterminator, who knows what they are doing.  Or check with your local department of agriculture or natural resources department on how to deal with them chemically.

 

Many chemicals have strict federal, state and local regulations and bans.  They are best suited to help you.

 

Please feel free to ask any questions you may still have.

Question:

I visited your site today and read some of the articles and looked at the pictures of the Asian Ladybugs and it reminded me of how my basement looked for almost 3 years. They were nasty bugs!!! They had a terrible odor, left their dirt everywhere and also bit me quite a few times. I would suck them up in our ShopVac and old sweeper, then take out the bags and burn them. Within hours they were everywhere again. I was embarrassed to have company over for a long time because they literally too over my basement. They made a nest in my drop ceiling between the basement and upstairs. I HATED them and I still do. I haven't noticed their presence as much this year, but I know they are still around, just not as bad. Can you provide any information on the nasty critters? Thanks!!

Answer:

The ladybugs do have an odor too them when they are pestered and they do leave dirt behind. I haven't found any professional proof they bite, but other people disagree.

Question:

What is the natural predator of Harmonia axyridis?

Answer:

None. At least not a true predator that would have any impact on a population of them. I'm sure that there are amphibian and reptiles, maybe even some birds, but I am not aware of a specific predator, but I look into this more.

Letter of Interest

I have been entertaining lady beetles for 3 winters now in central WI. Took some experimenting as to feeding them. Have settled on marshmallows. They also like jellybeans. Most of all they need water in a very shallow jar cover. They do leave little specks on window sills. It is easily cleaned up. After weather settled in spring I open all the windows & doors. Those that don't find their way out are given assistance. Have never been bitten or 'pinched' by them.

Reply from Me

Thanks for the personal experience. Love to hear them.

Question:

Over the winter I’ve found several lady bugs. At the time didn't think much about it. I currently reside in Eagan, MN, and of l late there have been anywhere from 6 to 10 bugs every day. For now we’ve been sweeping them outside, but not killing them. So far I would have to say we saw about 40 of them and there were 4 more I spotted this morning. Is there anything else to do ?

Answer:

Just about the only thing I can recommend is to find out where the insects are entering from and close any gaps in your home. You have the option of spraying to kill them, but that is not something I recommend because of health concerns from the chemicals.

Question:

Could you tell me what the difference is between the Asian Lady Beetle and the "American" lady beetle. Also, I have a friend who say his lady beetles bite - quite nasty. He believes his beetles to be the Asian lady beetle. Do you have any information on biting beetles.

Answer:

There are a few species of ladybugs native to North America, but the Asian Ladybug was introduced from Asia in the 1970's as a biological control against crop pests in the U.S. I have heard several people say that these Asian ladybugs bite, but have found no scientific reports to back up claims that they really "bite."