These aren’t ladybugs: invasive Asian ladybugs invade Wisconsin
Autumn has arrived and the temperatures suddenly got cooler. Another thing most homeowners notice is how creatures and bugs have started looking for warm, dry places to spend the winter.
If you live in central Pennsylvania, you may have noticed the resurgence of stinkbugs – or soon will be, according to Marcus Schneck of PennLive. He says “… there will be a lot of bedbugs invading our homes through every crack and crevice they can find as soon as the temperatures start to drop.”
It seems the same can be said of Asian ladybugs. This invasive species has become so numerous in the Midwest that most people think of it as ladybugs. But he’s aggressive and has found the Midwest to be a perfect home, according to one report on Fox6 News Milwaukee.
Most people know what American ladybugs look like, but they may not be familiar with the infamous Asian ladybug. Although ladybugs and Asian ladybugs look alike and belong to the same insect family, they do not behave the same, according to Plunkett’s Pest Control.
Asian ladybugs congregate in large groups (ladybugs don’t), especially around warm, reflective surfaces. They are attracted to bright colors like whites, grays and yellows, and tend to congregate in very sunny places. They seem to “bite” by scratching the skin they land on and can disperse a foul-smelling liquid. Worse yet, Asian ladybugs will attempt to enter homes when they seek winter shelters.
The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is the black M-shape on the back of the Asian ladybug’s head. Some more information about Asian ladybugs – they are slightly larger / longer than ladybugs; their color varies from red to orange; they may or may not have black spots, and their “snouts” appear pointed.
Ladybug heads are more oval, and predominantly black with small white markings that are confined to the sides of the head, resembling “cheeks”.
Ladybugs are considered beneficial and harmless insects. They do not bite, they consume garden pests such as aphids and stay outside when it is cold. Another interesting fact is that all ladybugs are bright red with black spots.
But Asian ladybugs don’t just winter in the Midwest. According to PennState Extension, they are native to East Asia and were introduced to the United States by the United States Department of Agriculture as a biological control agent. They were initially released to Pennsylvania in 1978 and 1981, but the first wintering beetles were not recorded until 1993.
PennState Extension goes on to report that the recent increase in the beetle population in Pennsylvania and other northern states is not believed to be due to previous versions of the USDA. Instead, they’re believed to come from a new source that was accidentally brought to New Orleans from an Asian cargo ship.