Watch For Ladybug Swarms In Fall
Ladybugs are very helpful to gardeners and farmers alike. The beetles are predators, and their favorite prey includes smaller insects like aphids and caterpillars that feed on ornamental plants, vegetables, and crops. But while ladybugs are no threat to humans and can definitely come in handy, there are reasons why homeowners might not be as fond of the beetles as young kids are.
For one thing, depending on where you live you probably have a good idea of when the local farmers harvest their crops. Farmers in Maryland and many other states use masses of ladybugs, Asian lady beetles in particular, to naturally control pest populations. And while that’s fine for most of the year, the fall harvest cuts down the ladybugs’ habitat, forcing them to find other places to live and make it through the winter. And if you live far enough from the city center, this new home can include your garden and the side of your house.
Now these ladybug swarms aren’t exactly dangerous, neither to your home nor your garden, but they can get in the way, they can get inside, and they can leave behind smelly yellow stains if you disturb them or smash them. So while ladybugs are welcome in the fields, they can become pests when they swarm into neighborhoods.
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to deal with ladybug swarms. When ladybugs cover your walls and fill your yard, bring out a portable vacuum cleaner and suck up all the insects you can find. Just remember to be careful when you empty it out, because the tough insects can survive the trip without much trouble. You can also set out ladybug traps that use UV light to draw them in or use mint and other menthol-producing plants to keep them away. For that matter, menthol is also effective against many other insects.
Ladybugs are an effective and organic way of dealing with crop-eating insects, but they aren’t nearly as welcome in neighborhoods as they are in cornfields. If they become a problem on your property, don’t be afraid to break out the vacuum, and if they start swarming inside you should contact a pest control service that can find where all the beetles are hiding, remove them without leaving stains and smells behind, and identify the cracks and holes the ladybugs are using to get inside.