As far as bugs go, ladybugs have a pretty sterling reputation. Seen as a sign of good luck, and often appearing in children's books and cartoons, these red- and black-spotted insects have plenty of great qualities: They prey on pests like aphids, spider mites, and mealy bugs that would otherwise destroy your plants and gardens.
But, there's actually a bad kind of ladybug out there—ones that can bite and be aggressive, are harmful to dogs, invade your home, and leave behind a foul-smelling yellowish secretion that can stain walls and furniture. They're called Asian Lady Beetles and were first introduced to North America in 1916 to combat aphids—but now, they're even more of a problem because they have overtaken the native species, and our homes.
While Asian Lady Beetles also prey on pests that harm our gardens, their cons far outweigh the pros. Here's exactly how to tell if you're dealing with a good kind of ladybug or a bad kind of ladybug, and what to do about it.
How Can I Tell The Difference Between Native Ladybugs and Asian Lady Beetles?
Asian Lady Beetles look almost identical to native ladybugs when it comes to color, but there's one distinctive marking that will make it easy to spot the difference between the two. On the black section just behind the bug's head you'll notice a white "M"-shaped marking—that's the telltale sign you're dealing with an Asian Lady Beetle, according to The Spruce.
How Do I Get Rid of Asian Lady Beetles?
Keep them outside! Make sure all of your window and door screens are in good shape, and double-check areas like chimneys, siding, vents, utility wires, and anywhere else you think insects could come into your home. If they do end up getting inside, Orkin recommends vacuuming them up (emptying the bag immediately afterward), or sweeping them up in a dustpan and putting them back outside.
These bugs quickly multiply, so if you notice a few in your home, make sure to act fast. Call your local pest control company, because it won't be long before you've got a full-blown invasion.
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