Asian lady beetles more common in East Texas as colder months approach

Asian lady beetles more common in East Texas as colder months approach
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:33 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 8:30 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A common bug becomes more frequently found in East Texas homes this time of year.

As the days get colder, residents can see an increase in Asian lady beetles inside their homes, even though these bugs are not native to the area.

Retired entomologist Joe Pase says that, just like their name, the bugs were brought to the United States from Asia in the 1960s and again in the 1990s.

“They have done really well here because they don’t have natural enemies and they may be now in every state,” Pase said

Pase said Asian lady beetles are a true lady beetle or ladybug. He said they look very similar to a ladybug as they have similar colors, but there is a distinguishing marker on the Asian lady beetle.

“The distinguishing mark is just behind their head looking from the top down just behind their head there is an ‘M’ shape or a ‘W’ whichever way you look at it,” Pase said

Cary Sims, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent for Angelina County, said they are beneficial to the environment.

“Lady beetles eat aphids that are small bodies insects that are pests in agriculture. Aphids is something we deal with in the home vegetable garden or major crops, we deal with that every year,” Sims said.

These lady beetles in the colder months will escape the cold and travel into people’s houses. They can be a nuisance as swarms of them can gather in people’s homes.

They get in by crawling through holes and cracks around people’s doors and windows, but they are not harmful to property. Sims said prevention is the key to keeping the lady beetles out of your home.

“And so, sealing up cracks with caulking windows, making sure you have a good seal around doors and windows when you shut them,” Sims said.

Pase said if they do get into your home, it’s better to sweep or vacuum them up to release instead of killing them.

“I think I would like people to think of the positive side more than the negative side. They are beneficial and do help around the landscape of your home,” Pase said

Pase said since they eat other bugs they do bite, but they are not harmful to humans or pets.