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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Those pesky beetles are back again

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Until the last few days, I had been living in a dream world thinking that we would not get attacked by the Asian Lady Beetles this year.

My dream went up in smoke the other day, when I got home from work and realized that there was what seemed liked 50 or more of those little critters all over the side of my house.

So I thought before I start getting calls about how to take care of them in the coming days, that I should take this week's column and focus on those pesky beetles with an "M."

For several years now, we have always been invaded by the Asian Lady Beetle in Indiana, but there is still some confusion out there as to what these beetles look like.

These beetles can vary in color greatly but have one specific way to be identified. They can be identified by looking at their thorax (area between the head and wing covers) for a black "M."

Sometimes, the "M" is darker and more obvious, but it is always there.

Another possible way to at least get a slight idea of whether or not it is an Asian Lady Beetle is by looking at the location you found it.

These beetles are often found in congregations following the first cold weather snap like we recently had in Indiana. After this, hundreds of thousands of beetles may appear around homes. They are attracted by abrupt color contrasts occurring in a longitudinal fashion, highly illuminated or southwest facing sides of buildings, buildings close to trees or woods, and other clusters of beetles.

Therefore, it is not uncommon to see them covering an all white house with dark colored shutters since they are attracted to the abrupt color contrast.

Asian Lady Beetles will not stay outside for long since they slowly begin to move indoors once temperatures drop.

Therefore, it is important that while there is some good weather still out there, that you take time and fill any cracks or holes leading into your house.

This will help prevent the beetles from entering your home. Once inside the house, the beetles essentially remain in a hibernation-like mode for several months. At this time, homeowners often do not realize the beetles are even around. However, everything changes following the first warm days of late winter or early spring. Once warm weather hits, the beetles spring back to life and begin crawling around, intensifying the nuisance factor.

When they are crawling around, they are often attracted to living areas of the home that are warm, including the living room, bedrooms and kitchen area.

Besides being a nuisance, Asian Lady Beetles are sometimes accused of pinching individuals when they are perspiring, smelling foul when crushed, and complicating allergies or asthma when dead or dried beetles are inhaled. Therefore, homeowners are often wondering what to do in order to control these beetles.

Purdue publication E-214-W, "Asian Lady Beetles," lists four good control methods to be used when handling these beetles in the coming weeks.

First, seal them out of your home by caulking and repairing openings. Second, use pesticides as a perimeter treatment. Third, use indoor pesticides to provide temporary control. The previous mentioned publication provides a list of pesticide products that can be used. Lastly, vacuum or sweep the beetles up.

As you look outside, the landscape is changing in many ways and hopefully you are taking a little bit of time out of your busy schedule to enjoy it. When doing so, don't be alarmed or upset when you see the Asian Lady Beetles flying toward you or covering the side of your house.

Instead, remain calm and follow the four control methods suggested in the "Asian Lady Beetles" publication offered online by Purdue University.

If you have any questions or need help obtaining a copy of this publication, please contact your local Purdue Extension Office by calling 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County.

If you would like to contact me directly, I can be reached at either of the two numbers listed or via e-mail at smith535@purdue.edu.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Oct. 31 -- Clay County Junior Leaders Trick or Treat for Cans, 6-7:30 p.m.,

* Nov. 5 -- Area Indiana Beef Cattle Association Meeting, Putnam County Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m. (call 765-653-8411 to register by Nov. 3),

* Nov. 5 -- Launching Your Own Small Business, Owen Community Bank, Spencer, 2 p.m. (RSVP seven days prior for $15 fee or $25 at the door, call 317-2903250),

* Nov. 7 -- Forest and Wildlife Field Tour, Martinsville, 8:30 a.m. (call 765-342-1010 to register),

* Nov. 7-20 -- North American International Livestock Expo, Lousville, Ky.,

* Nov. 10 -- Bi-State Ag Farmland Lease Program (call 765-762-3231 to register by Nov. 4),

* Nov. 20 -- Fall Achievement Program, Clay County, 7 p.m., and

* Nov. 24 -- Reality Store at Owen Valley Middle School