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John Fulton


John Fulton
Former County Extension Director



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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis
Multi-colored Asian Ladybeetle
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Asian Lady Beetles and Boxelder Bugs

Posted by John Fulton -

Cooler weather seems to be us to stay. With the cool weather, we have quite a few insects that are looking for a warm place to be - or at least a nice, warm place for the afternoon. This past week, there were numerous Asian lady beetles and boxelder bugs out an about. A nice, sunny location drew quite a crowd. That's the thing about this time of year. Whenever we have a brief warm spell, or even a sunny afternoon, the number of these insects seen will increase dramatically. With the falling leaves, millipede numbers are also increasing in the home, as they feed on those decaying leave that blew around the foundation. With any of these insects and pests, seeing them outside is much different than seeing them in the house.

To cut down on the number of these insects in the home, we can start with a barrier pesticide application on the foundation of the house (and the adjacent foot or two of soil around it) with something like permethrin or bifenthrin insecticide. This puts down a barrier that insects crawl through when trying to get in or on your house. Insects may not die immediately, but shouldn't last long after crawling through this barrier. In severe cases of insects congregating on outside walls, entire walls can be treated. Just make sure you test apply the chemical to a small section to make sure you don't discolor siding. Do remember the Asian lady beetles are beneficial since they eat smaller insects such as aphids and scale crawlers. That's one of their issues right now – their food sources have gone for the winter.

Of course, if insects are already in the house the barrier won't stop them. Inside the home, only aerosol products should be used. The safest of the group are the ones for flying insects that contain pyrthrins or their derivatives. These products basically kill insects that you get the spray on, and the sprays are inactivated by hitting the wall, floor, or other surfaces. You can spray the air in a particular room and vacuum up the dead insects in an hour or so. This is one way to get insects inside the house.

Another useful tactic, particularly with the millipedes, is to use baseboard type sprays. These products are typically labeled ant and roach type products, and may last for several weeks. Just spray in the high insect traffic areas, along baseboards, to put down a lasting barrier inside the house.

For those that don't like to use chemical products, the use of sticky boards (like the type used for rats and mice) offer an option for millipedes and somewhat for the boxelder bugs. Place these in areas where many insects are seen, such as room corners and under stairs in the basement. Ceiling lights are the best traps for the Asian lady beetles, that being said with tongue-in-cheek. The vacuum cleaner is also a good option for cleaning insects from draperies and the like. Mechanical control, such as a flyswatter, shoe, or newspaper, can leave discolored marks from the smashed insect so be careful with this one.



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