With that being said you eat lunches together from time to time and even play a joke or two on each other.
I remember back, when I worked in Bartow County, the lady beetle calls were coming in seemingly one after another from my boss Ed Hornyak.
One of the ladies made a big lady bug and hung it from his office door and I guess we crowned him King Lady Beetle.
Honestly, when the weather turns cool in the fall, you know the lady beetle calls are going to start rolling in.
Today, I will share information from an article from the UGA Center for Urban Agriculture and also from a publication from our friends at the University of Kentucky by authors Potter, Bessin and Townsend, UK Extension Entomologists.
First, we need to give a little history on the annual invasion of ladybugs. This started back in the early 1990s and when we say ladybugs we really mean the Asian lady beetle species, Harmonia axyridis.
When they start swarming into homes or other structures they are trying to find a place to overwinter.
The first Asian lady beetles were found in the fields of Louisiana in 1988. During the 1960s to 1990s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture tried to establish the Asian lady beetles to control pest of pecan and apple trees.
It is said that populations of these beetles were released in Georgia , South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. Note, that the UK publication states that some scientists believe that the current infestations in the U.S. did not originate from the releases, but from beetles accidently transported from a freighter that landed in New Orleans from Japan.
Now that we have them, what do we do? First, lady beetles are beneficial insects. True, they are a problem when they are getting into your homes by the hundreds, but they are beneficial insects by trade. They do a great job of feeding on items like aphids that can damage your plants.
Since lady beetles are good insects, I tell you to try to carefully get them back outside instead of killing them.
Safely getting them back outdoors and through the winter can benefit your gardening efforts in 2013.
Note, lady beetles do not sting, bite or even feed on food items in your house. They are looking for a place to overwinter. The only thing I find that can be harmful is that exposure can cause eye irritation to asthma in some people. Also, do not try to hand pick them up. Lady beetles when disturbed can put off a bad odor and can also put out a yellow secretion that can stain carpet or walls. This odor and secretion is basically a defense mechanism.
There still is probably a little time to make your home lady bug proof before they start coming inside.
Your goal should be to seal any cracks and openings to prevent their entry in the beginning. Look for cracks around windows, doors, soffits and even around utility pipes and wires and seal appropriately with caulk or other proper sealants. Even tight fitting door sweeps can help. You can even use foam weather stripping for gaps under sliding glass doors if needed.
For lady beetles that do get inside, some people will sweep them up with a broom and get them back outside.
You can, but the broom may disturb them enough to emit the staining yellow secretion so be careful.
You also can vacuum them up, but do so in a manner where you can still get them back outdoors safely. With a vacuum cleaner, you can put the toe end of a pair of hose or knee-high stockings over the vacuum end of the hose.
Hold it in place with a rubber band over the end of the vacuum hose and the stocking. Do not let the stocking get sucked up in the hose. You should be able to vacuum up a lot of the lady beetle this way. Then release them outside.
I would release them maybe on the southwest side of another outside structure so they may go dormant there and get some winter protection.
Again, the more lady beetles you can save now will help you next year. For more information contact Gordon County Extension or email email@example.com.