Asian Lady Beetle Mania Sweeps Through the Ozarks

SPRINGFIELD -- "When I got home last night and walked into my house, they were everywhere."

You may have seen the posts on social media from across the region about swarms of insects that look like ladybugs, but they certainly aren't. They're known as Asian Lady Beetles.

Despite Dorothy Merideth's best efforts to get rid of them, these little critters just aren't quitters.

"It's just frustrating because you go and sweep them up and you go back and there's more laying in your floor again, or on my couch," Merideth says. "I've had this problem for about six or seven years. It seems like about this time every year that they come into your house. I look around and think, how'd they get in my house?"

Robbie Doerhoff, a Forest Entomologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, says these beetles are looking to hibernate for the winter by going into your warm and cozy house.

"The beetles have been repopulating all summer long, and now they are looking to hibernate," Doerhoff says.

She says that if you have a brighter colored house, you are more likely to see these insects cover your home.

 "They like that bright light shining off of a house," Doerhoff explains. "It means it's warm, and that surface is going to be a nice spot to seek out a warm overwintering site."

As for Dorothy Merideth, she says her least favorite thing about these bugs is the stench they let off.

"They certainly don't smell good," Dorothy says. "If you pick one up, it's hard to even wash that smell off of your hands."

Doerhoff says that this is nothing more than a defense mechanism.

"The Lady Beetles are actually using that odor as a defense chemical anytime something or someone would grab one, they would release this odor."

While these pests are a nuisance, Doerhoff says there are ways to get rid of them if they get inside your home.

"Just vacuum them up. I would caution you against just releasing them back outside, because they will just try to get back inside," she says. "Either wrap them up in that vacuum bag and dispose of it, or dunk it in soapy water to drown those beetles inside the bag."

One of the scarier parts that the MDC has reported is that dogs can be affected by these bugs. If a dog eats multiple beetles, the bugs can stick to the roof of the mouth. If your dog is either foaming at the mouth, or not eating, check its mouth. This could be the issue.

If you have these bugs outside, that is where you'll want to keep them. Doerhoff says that caulking any cracks or crevices in your walls and windows is a great way to prevent the Asian Lady Beetles from infiltrating your home. 

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