Are Ladybugs Harmful?
Last updated: 11/11/21
Estimated read time: 3 minutes
Overall, ladybugs are harmless. Many cultures believe that these shiny, red-and-black bodied insects bring luck and well-being. However, though ladybugs help gardeners by feeding on pests like aphids and mites, they can become a problem for homeowners when hundreds of ladybugs try to hibernate in your home in the fall and winter.
What are Ladybugs?
Ladybugs also called ladybirds or lady beetles, are best known for their distinctive coloring and patterns. With more than 5,000 different species of ladybugs worldwide, these insects can range from 1 to 10 mm.
Types of Ladybugs
While there are thousands of different species of ladybugs with unique patterns, such as dots or strips, the ones most commonly found in North America include:
- Seven-spotted ladybugs, which are the most common in the US
- Two-spotted ladybugs, which have two spots, as the name suggests.
- Asian lady beetles often have orange or yellow coloring instead of red.
- Convergent ladybugs can have upwards of 12 black spots.
What do Ladybugs eat?
Ladybugs are considered very beneficial by gardeners and farmers, as they eat aphids, mites, and other pests that can damage crops. Some garden centers will sell live ladybugs as a natural aphid control.
Do Ladybugs bite?
Yes, ladybugs can bite if provoked, though they rarely have the force to break the skin. While their bites are not overly harmful and can not transmit any diseases or parasites, some people experience minor allergic reactions to ladybug bites in the form of a raised red bump.
Are Ladybugs poisonous?
Yes, ladybugs contain a mild toxic component, though only dangerous if ingested. Like many insects, ladybugs use something called “aposematic coloration,” which means they use their bright, contrasting colors to signal that they are poisonous and that the predator should stay away.
Ladybugs in the House
While ladybugs are not harmful to humans, they can become a nuisance—especially in fall and winter when they try to get into your home in search of a warm, safe space to hibernate. Ladybugs can appear in the attic, along window sills, or even in walls and release a powerful pheromone to signal others that they have found an excellent spot to spend the winter. Unfortunately, this can cause hundreds of ladybugs to enter your home.
How to Prevent Ladybugs Infestations
Here are a few tips and tricks to prevent ladybugs from getting into your home:
- Ensure that all doors and windows seal shut by using door sweeps, thresholds, or weather stripping. As ladybugs can squeeze through openings as small as 1/16 of an inch, it may be worth using high-quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk to seal gaps around windows.
- Check for alternate entry points around pipes, wires, meters, and television cables using caulk, expandable foams, steel wool, or copper mesh.
- Plant flowers that are known to repel ladybugs naturally, like mums and lavender. For additional resistance, consider putting those plants into pots and placing them inside your home.
How to get rid of a Ladybug Infestation
While a ladybug infestation does not pose a direct threat, you may still want to eliminate the unwanted houseguest. The easiest way to do this is to get professional help. Our expert technicians at BOG Pest Control offer eco-friendly and safe solutions for everyone in your family.
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