Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Common Questions People Ask About Asian Lady Beetles

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What questions do you have about Asian ladybeetles? This blog post provides some of the most common ones asked through a Google search.
Common Questions People Ask About Asian Lady Beetles
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As I’ve had many opportunities to research beetles, I know how captivating it can be to jump into their realm. The Asian lady beetle is no exception. While it’s not uncommon to find them parading in your garden, feeding on aphids and fruits, you’re likely disturbed by them congregating in corners and other areas of your home.

Like many homeowners and gardeners, you have questions about Asian ladybeetles. I won’t be able to answer all your questions, but in this article, I provide answers to the most commonly asked ones on Google. If you don’t see the question you want answered, please comment at the bottom of the article, and I will update the content to include it.

Are Asian Beetles Harmful?

Are Asian beetles the evil overlords of your garden? Well, it depends on who you ask. But here are some facts:

  • Asian lady beetles, scientifically known as Harmonia axyridis, will nip or bite when bothered. These beautiful, spotted critters have earned a rap rep for their bites, as I’ve read where some people commented that their nip is worse than that of mosquitoes. So, if you’re sensitive to mosquitoes and find that their stings pack a punch, watch out for Asian ladybeetles and try not to be nipped. It’s not uncommon to get pimples after being bitten.
  • Some persons have also reported that they’ve had allergic reactions to Asian beetles when there’s an infestation in the home or encounters at work and in the garden, according to case series. Allergic reactions may include asthma and irritation of the eyes. In areas where the Asian ladybeetles are endemic, allergic reactions may soar up to 10%. So, if you get sickly quickly and are typically at the mercy of Murphy’s Law (as I am), try to stay clear of these beetles.  
  • Asian ladybeetles are also contaminants. They are problematic to the wine and grape industries. This is because some may be inadvertently processed to make wine. According to research, their fragrant, off-putting aroma makes them known for tainting grape juice and wine.

Overall, the Asian ladybeetle is annoying, and their invasion of your home is enough to get under your skin.

What Gets Rid of Asian Beetles?

You can do much to bid farewell to Asian beetles from your home. Many sources will talk about what you can do after the fact, but I like to tackle problems before they happen.

Before you cure a problem, I’d suggest putting preventative measures in place and pest proof your home.

Instead of calling in the pest control SWAT team, here are a couple of DIYs you can implement to eliminate Asian beetles.

Use a Vacuum Cleaner:

If your home is laden with Asian beetles, forget about grabbing them up. That’s a huge mistake. If you own a vacuum cleaner, that’s an option to explore. Ensure to check behind your beds and curtains, as they will hang out everywhere they can.

Using a vacuum cleaner is a safe, no-contact way to get rid of them, and it’s fun.

I should warn you, they will fly at you, so be careful. Some homeowners have also commented that they are attacked when sprayed, so watch out.

Deploy Insect Traps.

Sticky traps designed explicitly for lady beetles can be strategically placed to catch these critters.

Don’t Crush Them.

Whatever you do, avoid the strong urge to crush them. They stink.

Diffuse Essential Oils:

I once read a YouTube comment about a family struggling with Asian beetles. The commenter noted that tremendous results were seen after diffusing lemon essential oil consistently before the beetles started streaming in-house. The diffuser was permanently stationed in the area where Asian beetles were known to enter. She noticed that they would pass over the house after she used essential oils in a diffuser. I cannot vouch for this suggestion, as I’ve never tried it, but nothing beats trying, right? By the way, if you have pets, be careful how you use essential oils around them.

Release Them:

If you feel remarkably humane, collect them in a container and release them outside. Just be sure to avoid squishing them; otherwise, you’ll be met with that not-so-pleasant odor. Also, note that when you release them, they might re-flood your home.

What Attracts Asian Beetles?

Asian lady beetles have a penchant for hanging out in warm, sunny spots and light-colored buildings. They are attracted to certain volatile chemicals emitted from plants and sex pheromones from other Asian beetles.

They strongly rely on odorants to find suitable food sources and egg-laying sites. This means that if a group of Asian beetles congregate in a location because of food or oviposition, this will attract a lot more beetles.

What’s the Difference Between Ladybugs and Asian Beetles?

Here’s the fun part: distinguishing ladybugs from Asian ladybeetles. Ladybugs, those adorable red-and-black polka-dotted darlings, are native to North America and seen as assets or beneficial insects to your garden. They are superheroes, as they help to rid my container plants of aphids.

On the other hand, Asian ladybeetles are impostors in ladybug clothing. They’re slightly larger, come in various colors (from orange to yellow), and often have more spots than ladybugs. In rare cases, they are clad in black, with red marks. A significant difference between ladybugs and Asian beetles is the ‘M’ or ‘W’ on the head of Asian beetles. You can’t miss them if you use this as a distinguishing factor. Plus, Asian ladybeetles have a penchant for invading your home and buildings.

To learn more about the difference between ladybugs and Asian beetles, please read this article. I’ve spoken about them in detail in that blog post.

Are Ladybugs Poisonous if Eaten?

This is a debatable question. Some sources do relate that lady beetles, in general, produce toxins as a way to ward off predators. However, they are not known because of their toxicity and poisonous nature to humans. The Asian ladybeetle is known for contaminating food, such as wines when processed with raw material. However, I’ve not seen or read any internet papers mentioning people getting sick from drinking these wines or grape juice.

I’m no scientist or biologist, but I doubt eating a ladybug or two is sufficient to exhibit particular signs of toxicity. I am also not aware of anyone who has eaten a plate of Asian ladybeetles in an attempt to get sick due to their poisonous nature. However, one can surmise that when the level of toxicity increases (in cases of eating large portions of beetles), someone is bound to get sick. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TEST THIS THEORY.

All-in-all, predators of ladybeetles, especially since these are also tiny, may exhibit signs of toxicity, but I do not know how this extrapolates to humans and pets. If these critters can cause allergic reactions, I do not doubt their toxicity.

Asian lady beetles may be a bit of a nuisance, but they’re far from the villainous creatures they’re sometimes made out to be. With a few handy tricks, you can keep them from invading your home and, in the process, learn to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the insect world. Happy bug-watching!


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