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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

Asian Ladybugs or Multi-colored Asian ladybeetles

Posted by John Fulton -

With the warmer weather, Asian ladybugs (technically the multi-colored Asian ladybeetle) are becoming more active. How did we come to have so many? Well.... the populations really climbed in early September as the populations of soybean aphids increased in soybean fields. The problem was the soybeans matured, and the aphids died. So now we have all these insects with no food source in the fields. They are traveling looking for food and a place to rest to gather warmth. We are also destroying their resting places by cleaning off flower beds and raking up piles of leaves. In Asia, the ladybugs climb the side of a cliff to gather sun. Since we don't have many cliffs around here, they use the side of your house, the car, a tree trunk in the sun, well you get it - about anything vertical and in the sun. These insects were actually imported to help control insects in pecan orchards. Once they succeeded there, they moved to other orchards, such as peaches, where they did more harm than good. Many people say the trend of more harm than good continues today, but they are mainly a nuisance pest.

The best control in the home is a vacuum cleaner. If you have numbers too large for that type of control, area sprays of an aerosol flying insect killer will knock down the ones it hits. If you are terribly bothered, try a perimeter spray of the foundation, door areas, siding, and window areas on the home with a pesticide that will last for a while. Color test the material on siding first, and hope for the best. The pesticides are effective, but they are sometimes overwhelmed by the number of ladybugs that you are trying to control. Permethrin and bifenthrin are probably the most commonly used pesticides for perimeter sprays, but don't expect a quick knock-out.

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