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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Handling Asian Lady Beetles

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I haven't seen many yet, but I know they are out there.

Once again, it is time for our annual fall pest, the Asian Lady Beetle, to make its appearance.

Asian Lady Beetles can vary in color 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 Beetles are often found in congregations following the first cold weather snap. 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 because 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. 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," 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.

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," provide a list of some of the outdoor pesticides a homeowner can use against Asian Lady Beetles.

A few of the active ingredient names include Bifenthrin, Deltamethrin and Cyfluthrin.

These ingredients can be found in a lot of common pesticides found at big box stores and other pesticide retailers.

As with many pesticide applications, remember to read the label before using it and follow all label instructions.

As you enjoy the rest of fall, 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.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, 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. 31 -- Clay County Junior Leaders Halloween Trick or Treat for Cans,

* Nov. 5 -- 4-H Congress,

* Nov. 8 -- Extension Office closed, county holiday,

* Nov. 11 -- Extension Office closed, county holiday,

* Nov. 15 -- Clay County Extension Board meeting, and

* Nov. 18 -- Clay County 4-H Achievement Night.