Asian Ladybugs Got Me

As I was writing this past weekend’s news round up, I was excited to come across the news story on Asian Ladybugs. The reason being, just last week I walked outside my southern facing home and saw the air infested with flying insects in the bright afternoon sun. Not being able to tell what type of bugs these were, I reached up to catch one. Ladybug, I thought.

Then I saw the masses on the brick of my house and around the windows of my garage and upstairs rooms. I remembered back to the past year of how I continually vacuumed up large numbers of dead ladybugs in our bonus room where the windows are not sealed as well.

As I read the news article in the Herald Standard, I was amazed at how my ladybugs exhibited all of the exact behaviors mentioned. Where I live (southeastern US), the nights have just gone below freezing and the days still warm up nicely. My house is southern facing and even on a slight rise, which apparently the bugs like. What also struck me as interesting, is that I have been sneezing this past week, my nose has been sniffly and my eyes are itching, and I am the person least affected by allergies in my family! Could I be allergic to these ladybugs?

I am sort of taken with them now, and want to learn more. I have read stories of people having hundreds, even thousands of them in their homes (so glad we don’t have that many). They like to hibernate in the walls, but when it warms up, even for an afternoon, they wake up and that’s when they make it inside. Apparently, they emit a fluid as a defense mechanism and it is foul smelling and can stain carpet, furniture or clothes. It is believed that this may be what causes people to have an allergic reaction. Others believe it is the droppings and/or the decomposition dust because they usually are found dead in high numbers inside homes.

Because they are fairly innocuous to buildings and people (unless of course, you are allergic), they are considered safe, but annoying. Pesticides, which I like to stay away from anyway due to health concerns, don’t really work on the ladybugs because they don’t feed where it is placed and because once they are inside they are usually hibernating and immune to poisons. The best defense against them is to make sure any openings to the outside are well sealed. If they are inside, vacuum them up and dispose of the bag immediately. If you are having allergic reactions, have someone else do it.

Asian Ladybugs now rank right up there with cockroaches, cats and dust mites in allergy sensitivities. However, they are still considered a seasonal allergen because of their “season.” So if you, like me, have been feeling a little sniffly lately, check around your windows. You may have a new nemesis that isn’t so lucky after all.

– Heather Legg

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