When homeowners are getting their houses ready for winter, they may not initially think of pest control. And it’s true: a lot of pests aren’t a problem in the winter because once they’ve laid eggs, they die off but that is not true for all insects. Ants will go inactive waiting for spring again and some insects like the Monarch Butterfly will migrate south to warmer climates.
However, pests like ladybugs will actually stay around during the winter months and overwinter inside your home. Take a look at why this is possible and how to keep them from infesting your house.
How Do Ladybugs Survive the Winter?
Ladybugs undergo diapause, a method of hibernation, during the winter months. Once they find a warm, safe environment, they can regulate their body temperature and live off their own energy reserves. In fact, ladybugs can survive in diapause for up to nine months!
If you have a ladybug problem in your home, the good news is that they don’t reproduce during diapause. They are just trying to survive the winter, so you don’t have to worry about multiplying numbers and can nip the issue in the bud.
Why Are They in Your House?
If you have a flower or vegetable garden in your yard, lady bugs may have been residents there during the warmer months. Instead of acting as pests, ladybugs during these times are a great benefit since they can eat aphids and other pests that could damage your plants. The catch is that even though they are beneficial to gardens, they are then in prime spots to migrate a little further to people’s houses.
If you don’t have a garden, ladybugs can still be attracted to your home, maybe just because of the color you have chosen for your home. If the windows and doors are open or aren’t sealed tightly. Ladybugs can find cracks and gaps to gain entry into your home.
While ladybugs can make their way inside homes for various reasons, their invasion is more likely when you live in a less dense urban area, a suburban neighborhood as an example with nicely kept lawns and landscaping. If you haven’t pruned back shrubs around the house this can provide easy access into your home for they will use the branches to get onto the house, the next step is into the home through small gaps and cracks..
How Can the Ladybug Problem Be Fixed?
You may be tempted to squash and kill ladybugs that have invaded your home, but this action causes a noxious odor to be released and will cause staining. When ladybugs are killed, they release chemical compounds called methoxypyrazines which smell like moldy vegetables. Even if you are careful about removing the ladybugs, they can still release this odor if they are scared.
It’s a good idea to contact a pest control service for removal options. When you have this issue the solution is a chemically based one to start. You need to knock the population down before they begin their overwintering phase. There are no baits for this pest; they eat live bugs such as aphids. When your service does use chemicals, look for one that uses products registered with the EPA. You do not want to eliminate these pests while they are overwintering in your walls or attic, the dead ladybugs will lead to problems with those insects that eat dead insects, the dermestid beetles.
The long term solution to ladybugs is based not in chemicals but in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) concepts. The solution is to exclude the insects from the home in the future. Sealing door jambs, window frames, placing screening over vent access points, and installing door sweeps and thresholds will go a long way to keeping this problem from taking root in your home. Your pest professional can direct you to the areas needing to be sealed. Appropriately timed external treatments also can help lower the external pressure these insects can place on your home.
Don’t let ladybugs make your home uncomfortable this winter. Contact A-Alert Exterminating Service, Inc., today for more help.