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Friday, May 6, 2016

Special fall visitors finally back

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I had begun to believe we wouldn't see our fall visitors this year. However, this past weekend when I was out at the barn, I saw them. There they were, flying in the air, resting on the side of the barn, and even landing on my shoulder. There was no way to mistake the insects I saw on Sunday for anything other than Asian Lady Beetles.

Asian Lady 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. Asian Lady Beetle 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 to 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.

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

Besides being a nuisance, Asian Lady Beetles are 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," list 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. Lastly, vacuum or sweep the beetles up. These control methods need to be used in combination since doing only one will not prevent an invasion of Asian Lady Beetles from entering your house.

Purdue publication E-214-W, "Asian Lady Beetles," provides a list of some of the outdoor pesticides a homeowner can use again Asian Lady Beetles. A few of the active ingredient names are: Bifenthrin, Deltamethrin, and Cyfluthrin. These ingredients can be found in a lot of the common pesticides found at big box stores and other pesticide retailers. As with any pesticide application, remember to read the label before using it and follow all label instructions.

There are many signs of fall all around us and unfortunately the annual visit from the Asian Lady Beetles is one of them. As you enjoy the nice fall weather we are having, don't be alarmed or upset when you see the Asian Lady Beetles flying towards 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, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay Co., 829-5020 in Owen Co., or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

Oct. 23 - Energy Conservation Expo, Wabash Valley Fairgrounds, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Oct. 27 -- Owen-Monroe Calf Sale, 1 p.m.

Oct. 30 -- Parke Co. 4-H Hay & Straw Auction, Parke Co. Fairgrounds, 3 p.m.

Oct. 30 -- Fall-o-ween, McCormick's Creek State Park