Any time she wants to enter or exit her home lately, Michelle Daley faces a nuisance that has struck homes across the region — beetles. Daley and many other residents in the East have noticed the multicolored Asian lady beetle reappearing with a vengeance this year.
Any time she wants to enter or exit her Canterbury home lately, Michelle Daley faces a nuisance that has struck homes across the region — beetles.
Daley and many other residents in the East have noticed the multicolored Asian lady beetle reappearing with a vengeance this year.
“I’ve never seen it so terrible,” Daley said. “They’re just swarming around everywhere. You can’t even go outside.”
Also known as the Halloween lady beetle, these insects come in pale yellow, brown, bright orange red, black or mustard, according to the University of Connecticut Home and Garden Center.
The beetles tend to congregate on light-colored houses, especially in places where sunlight hits, by the hundreds or thousands while looking for a place to hibernate for the winter.
“This time of year, they’re starting to look for winter places,” said Kirby Stafford, chief entomologist at the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station. “They can be a nuisance when you get these home invaders.”
Stafford said his office began receiving calls from concerned residents last week. He said anecdotal reports from residents across the state indicate this is the worst year yet for the beetles.
“It does seem like there are more this year,” Stafford said.
Stafford said the extreme cold weather of two weeks ago followed by warm weather last week is likely the cause of the beetle surge.
Stafford said the beetles like the warmth of the outside of houses, but try to find their way into homes, especially basements or attics, where they can hibernate with limited disturbance.
“The house is completely covered,” said Canterbury resident David Veit. “There’s nothing you can do. Just grin and bear it.”
Veit said the beetles flock to his house most every year, but this year is by far the worst.
Stafford said the only danger beetles may carry for residents is an allergic reaction, and there is no recommendation for residents to keep the beetles off of the outside of homes.
Daley said the beetles get into her house through the small spaces in the window frames. She said when she’s at home, she circles her house with her vacuum cleaner twice an hour to keep up with the pesky intruders. She reaches with the vacuum attachment toward the top of walls where the beetles congregate to suck them up, and then empties the vacuum container into a sealed bag before throwing them out.
“I’m just waiting for the cold weather,” Daley said. “Then they’ll be gone.”
The beetle was first recorded in Connecticut in the spring of 1994.
The beetle is known as a “beneficial nuisance” as it eats pecan aphids and 50 other species of aphids, contributing to biological control efforts.
While looking for winter hibernating sites, the beetles tends to cluster in hundreds or thousands on light-colored houses with sunny, southwest exposures. It usually leaves on its own in a few days or weeks.
Pesticides are not recommended because the beetles are beneficial to agriculture and horticulture.
Once indoors, the beetles can be swept up and released outdoors. Vacuuming is also recommended, though it does not always kill the beetles. The beetles can be released outdoors after vacuuming. If disposed, residents are advised to seal the vacuum bag so the live beetles do not escape into the house again.
Source: University of Connecticut Home and Garden Education Center