Ladybugs are often touted as the gardener's little helper, eating aphids and other bugs that can cause harm to precious plants. However, too many ladybugs, and their imported cousin, the Asian lady beetle, could become more bothersome than beneficial when they begin finding their way indoors. Ladybugs won't lay eggs indoors -- they get into homes via open doors and windows and cracks in siding. Traditional chemical insect control methods aren't an effective means of control for the hard-shelled insects. The most effective way of destroying an interior infestation is a simple vacuum cleaner.
Things You'll Need
- Vacuum cleaner
- Rubbing alcohol
- Knee-high nylon
- Rubber band
- Diatomaceous earth (optional)
Insert a knee-high nylon stocking toe-first into a vacuum cleaner's hose, rolling a few inches of the end of the nylon back over the lip of the hose and securing it with a rubber band.
Vacuum up the ladybugs, paying special attention to window sills and door jams, where they like to congregate.
Remove the rubber band and hold the stocking closed as soon as the vacuum is turned off. Use the rubber band to tie the stocking, preventing the lady bugs from escaping.
Throw the stocking away or empty the contents into a toilet and flush. If you want to ensure that the ladybugs are killed in the process, crush the bag of bugs before throwing it in the trash. Alternatively, you can put a handful of diatomaceous earth into the stocking before throwing it away. Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring abrasive powder made from the fossilized remains of algae. It is believed to cut through the exoskeleton of hard-shelled insects like ladybugs, causing them to die from dehydration.
Tips & Warnings
- Avoid the use of insecticides when dealing with ladybugs. According to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, chemical treatments like "bug bombs" and insecticidal sprays are temporarily effective at best.
- University of Illinois Extension: Ladybugs Can Be a Real Nuisance; Sandra Mason; October 2000
- University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: Asian Lady Beetle Infestation of Structures; Michael F. Potter et al.; June 1993
- How to Get Rid of Things: How to Get Rid of Ladybugs
- Ohio State University Extension: Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle; Susan C. Jones, Ph.D., et al.
- Photo Credit ladybug image by Carol Wingert from Fotolia.com
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