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JANUARY 28 2020 / PEST AND TERMITE
This past weekend, I worked up the courage to enter my son’s bedroom. I knew if I didn’t, the fog coming from his laundry hamper was only going to grow stronger. As I crossed over the Lego minefield that had been strategically placed within the long fibers of the carpet, my eye was suddenly drawn to an oddly shaped cloud that began to move in the sunlight. At that moment, I immediately regretted watching all those horror movies the previous week instead of Halloween!
Naturally once I tamed my overdramatic imagination, my eyes adjusted to reveal a simple swarm of ladybugs. Now, I was taught to never squash a ladybug, but seeing that many in my home was extremely tempting! My only thought at that time was, “I don’t care how lucky these tiny little creatures are, I want them gone…now!” Word of caution here, be very careful of how you remove them or you may end up with an even bigger problem on your hands. Thankfully, I did a little research before I did anything. I’m not sure why I didn’t go full-on exterminator mode but I’m glad I didn’t.
Okay, so apparently ladybugs are attracted to lightly-colored buildings (cue my home) and warm/sunny rooms (cue my son’s room). They are considered to be one of the “better pest problems” to have. Yep…definitely feeling very lucky right now. A little more scrolling and I find that ladybugs are actually beetles and depending on the species of beetle, they are one of the few pests that feed on other pests like aphids (plant lice), fungal growths, mites, whiteflies and other common “pests of plants”. So having them, really helps to control the other pests that are, in all actuality, the real problem.
Another tidbit to ease the mind is that ladybugs do not bite. However, they have been known to create a “pinching” sensation when walking on your arms or fingers. Keep in mind that this “pinching” does not penetrate the skin and because of it, ladybugs are not commonly known to spread disease. Now, before you go stomping and squishing these pests, keep in mind that ladybugs excrete a tinted pheromone when they have been disturbed and often leave a yellowish stain that has a pungent smell to it. The best way to battle these little beetles is to remove them without killing them.
Our professionals here at Waynes recommend grabbing a pair of pantyhose and a vacuum with an extension. What? Yep. Take the pantyhose and stretch it over the extension. Tuck a bit of the pantyhose into the extension to form a net being careful to hold the rest of the hose over the outside of the extension. Once you flip the switch and start vacuuming, this will prevent the ladybugs from being sucked into the vacuum to only escape later after you toss it into the closet. Pretty smart, right?
It is likely that you will see more after you’ve gotten rid of the ladybugs that you can see. Don’t worry, they aren’t spawning more in your home and after a few sessions with the vacuum cleaner, you will start seeing less and less of them. Ladybugs generally overwinter in warm places to make it until next spring. Overwintering is another word for hibernating, meaning their bodies slow down and really only produce enough energy to stay alive. Once the weather warms up again, they will leave your home and begin tending to your garden.
With that being said, October and November are generally the best months to prepare for these winter guests. Ladybugs can enter the home through any crack or crevice they find so identify the obvious weak spots and break out the caulk-gun if need be. Keep in mind, ladybugs also enter the home through other openings such as eaves, attic vents, windows, and light fixtures. It is important to properly seal these areas in order to eliminate as many entry points as possible. Once you have done that, give Waynes a call at 1-866-WAYNES1 so we can spray the outside of your home to help repel these lucky but unwanted houseguests!