Reports of Asian lady beetles invading homes in Minnesota are pouring in as warmer temperatures have been felt throughout the weekend.
Asian lady beetles are often confused with the common ladybugs. Just as the ladybugs, the Asian lady beetles display a bright orange red color mixed with dark spots. However, they are slightly bigger than their relatives and a nuisance it seems for everyone that has had to handle them recently.
The issue with Asian lady beetles invading homes in Minnesota is that they don’t come alone. Usually, they travel in swarms. A brightly colored bug, perhaps reminding of warm summer days is a delight. Hundreds of them tucked on a home’s windowsill might become a nuisance.
However, the invasion of the Asian lady beetles is a natural phenomenon. As temperature drops, the insects are looking for a home to spend the cold season in. Chilly nights cannot be spend in trees or parks or in the field. Any shelter, slightly warmed, will do.
It seems the march for finding winter shelters has already begun in Minnesota, with residents of several cities reporting invasions larger than ever. The Asian lady beetle was introduced in the 1970s by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as what is known as a biological control agent.
The Asian lady beetle, scientifically named Harmonia Axyridis, is an effective aphid control agent. Feeding on these organisms, it saves crops from being devastated by the pests. However, it looks like the aphids-eating insects become pests as well once they leave the field to find shelter for the cold season.
Firstly introduced in the Deep South, the Asian lady beetle migrated to Minnesota and other states only later, according to Val Cervenka with the Department of Natural Resources. One theory states that the insect population in Minnesota originated from a second wave of Asian lady beetles being introduced in the U.S. via an Asian freighter docked in New Orleans.
Whichever the origin of the Asian lady beetle now found in Minnesota, it’s important to keep in mind that the insects are harmless. They might bite occasionally, but they carry no disease and cause no infection.
They have a knack for brightly colored objects, and thus are often seen swarming and flocking on a brightly colored wall, particularly if it faces the sun. At the same time, bear in mind that if they do reach your home they cause no trouble.
Sure, the sight of hundreds of them on the livingroom floor is not too pleasant. Yet, if they do happen to take up residence in the walls or cracks found in the isolation of the house, Asian lady beetles don’t destroy it.
While wintering there, they don’t lay eggs, they don’t enlarge the cracks and they don’t damage infrastructure or wood. They do however leave a rather unpleasant smell behind if they’re bothered.
Photo Credits: Flickr