Bugs

How to Get Rid of Ladybugs

Children love it when a lady bug lands on them, for then they can recite the age-old rhyme, “Lady bug, lady bug, fly away home…” Serious gardeners also love lady bugs, purchasing them and setting them free to eat other bugs in their garden and hoping that they stick around instead of “flying away home.” A single ladybug is capable of consuming 50 to 60 aphids per day and eats a variety of other insects and larvae.

Getting Rid of Ladybugs

That said, a lady bug problem has developed in America. Companies who raise and sell lady bugs to gardeners and farmers began some years back importing them from Asia. The foreigners are supposedly more voracious than our domestic variety. Our lady bugs die off in the winter; foreign lady bugs hibernate, problematically in people’s houses. They would prefer rocks and caves, but they don’t always have them available.

These lady bugs seek out structures with an abundance of cracks and crevices which they can use to gain entrance. Homes with cedar shakes or other wood siding, older houses, and houses painted a light color seem to be more vulnerable. The pheromones they excrete while in your home attract more bugs that mass over a period of years and become unbearable when they start overflowing from the crevices and the attic into living spaces. Although they do not destroy anything in the home or pose economic problems, get enough of them and they will be buzzing around your lamps, landing on you, and beginning to bite; food is scarce for these bugs during the winter months, so they are known to randomly bite things in an effort to find sustenance.

Ladybug Exclusion

The first step in controlling them is to deny them access to your home. One year, you may witness a flock of bugs emerging from your house’s crevices in the spring. If you don’t do anything about them, they will increase over the following years. Inspect for areas where they may have gotten in or are living. During your inspection, don’t neglect the attic or crawl spaces. Ladybugs like to burrow under and between insulation and wood sheathing.

Liquid chemical treatments don’t do well in the attic. If you are going the insecticide route, instead, use deltamethrin dust.

Seal any and all cracks and crevices. The areas around windows, molding, and light fixtures are also commonly used routes of entry that should be reduced or eliminated by injecting them with foam insulation. Some foam comes with a built-in insecticide.

Ladybug Repellents

Using insecticidal soap spray avoids potentially harmful chemicals and will kill them on contact, but has no residual effect and is therefore not an effective repellant.

A chemical called cypermethrin, found in a number of products sold by building supply stores and nurseries, kills lady bugs on contact and drives them away from the house. It is sprayed on outside walls after filling in cracks, and its effect lasts several weeks. It needs to be sprayed at least three times a year until the problem disappears.

After having sprayed outside, you may find a few have found their way into your living area. If you prefer not to terminate them with extreme prejudice and you set them free, make sure it’s at a distance from your home. There are also bug glue pads laced with pheromones that attract the bugs that then get stuck to the glue. This does seem a bit cruel, however. A lighted lady bug trap also uses the pheromone lure along with a UV lamp that lady bugs are also attracted to. The trap can hold hundreds of lady bugs, and it can be used inside or outside.

Ladybug Traps

If you prefer immediate and lethal results for the bugs flying about, you can play Obi Wan Kenobi, using a hand-held zapper instead of a light sabre. You just hold this thing in a bug’s path (you can also use it on houseflies, wasps, and mosquitoes) and when contact is made, the bug gets a lethal dose of electricity. A bug zapper/vacuum will suck bugs out of the air, and you can decide whether to release it or whack it. You become judge, jury, and bug zapper.

Cheaper than a zapper is an industrial vacuum cleaner. Put a thin cloth in the bottom, suck the bugs out of the air, take out the cloth with the bugs, and then decide their fate.

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About the author

Nicole Harding

9 Comments

  • The foreign ladybugs that come inside for the winter do not like the wonderful scent of cloves! I saw a tip somewhere that suggested placing whole cloves around windows and doors, and even in larger light fixtures. It works! I put little caps, like from water bottles, full of cloves between the window and storm window, between the storm door and the main door, and in the rim of the big kitchen fluorescent light. No more ladybugs overwintering in my house!

  • Ok so first you have to get rid of the bugs you have already. A vaccuum works great. Then take a squirt bottle and fill it half way with lemon cleaner and the rest of the way with hot water. Then go to town spraying the inside/outside of all doors. It might not keep all of the bugs out but 95% of bugs gone isn’t bad.

  • do not use benzophenone, it is a hazardous chemical. my house is infested with ladybugs, but I sure wouldnt use a chemical that will harm the respitory tract, its a pretty nasty chemical. just as bad as all the other **** they have you thinking is great.

  • circus and vacuum cleaners. I helps when you place citrus on windows, doors, corners, etc. Ladybugs can not escape vaccums. Also, make sure, when you’re trying to get them out of a certain room, turn on the brightest light on iin your home. Ironicly, bugs like the darkest places with is behind the brightest lights.

  • Amy (below) didnt read the article at all. It specifically said Do not catch them inside your house then set them free in your garden or you will have the same exact problem later. Although they can be a good thing for your garden if you are having issues w/your house being overrun w/ladybugs the whole idea is to get them as far from your house as possible. Not Keep them around… dont ya think?
    Ok down to more practical advice. Most the others are all good,some may work better than others depending on your home & how bad the prob is. In our case we tried the lemon candles & wiping down w/ammonia. It worked a little(we think), but between using a vaccum cleaner & the cypermethrin chemicle (we didn’t want to use chemicals but you do whatever you need to, people were starting to think we had ladybug wallpaper it got so bad). That chemical spray & vaccum seemed to do the trick. Good luck.

  • My house gets invaded by ladybugs over the winter and I don’t start to notice them until almost spring they start to come out of hiding and roam the house. I Started trying to kill them one by one and they stink when you squish them so I got a box and started catching and throwing them in there it didn’t seem too fun until my 3 year old son Vincent saw what I was doing and wanted to help now it’s kid of like a game for us to see who can get more in their box 🙂

  • I really dont have a tip but more a question i have use a vaccuum and even the bowl of sugar water and every year when the weather warms up my bedroom window literaly get covered with ladybugs and we just put new windows in about a year ago and i am having a hard time trying to get ride of them and they are starting to find my little baby so does anybody have any suggestions

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