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Although ladybugs are known for their bright and cheerful appearance, they can become a nuisance when they invade your home or garden. During the cold winter months, these red-and-black spotted bugs may seek warm places to hibernate—including your home’s wall voids and crevices. Then, as the weather warms up, they reemerge and make their presence known.
In this article, we’ll walk you through how to get rid of ladybugs, from all-natural DIY methods to professional pest control strategies. We’ll also cover how to prevent and identify infestations early to help you keep your pest control costs in check.
How to Get Rid of Ladybugs in Your Home
Here are some effective methods for getting rid of ladybugs that have made their way inside your home:
- Vacuum them up: Use a handheld or stick vacuum cleaner to suck up the ladybugs. Dispose of the bag or canister contents outside your home or transfer them to a sealed plastic bag. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to prevent the ladybugs’ odor from spreading.
- Make dish soap traps: Fill a shallow bowl with water and dish soap, then place it near a window or lamp. The light will attract ladybugs to the bowl, and the soap will trap them. Discard the contents of the bowl regularly.
- Buy premade traps: Rather than make a trap, you can purchase a premade light trap to catch ladybugs and insects. You can also use sticky traps.
- Use insecticides: Look for a product labeled for ladybug control and follow the instructions carefully. Be sure to choose a pesticide that is safe for indoor use.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around entry points and other areas where ladybugs are present. The powder will absorb the moisture from the ladybugs’ exoskeletons, causing them to dry out and die.
- Spray vinegar: Ladybugs release a pheromone that attracts other ladybugs to the same location. To remove this scent, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and water and wipe down affected surfaces.
- Seek professional help: If you are uncomfortable with DIY methods or have yet to find them effective, contact a reputable pest control company for help. These professionals can assess the severity of the infestation, recommend the best course of action, and provide safe and effective services.
How to Get Rid of Ladybugs in Your Garden
Ladybugs can be beneficial insects, as they prey on aphids and other garden pests. However, if they become a nuisance, you can use the following methods to get rid of them:
- Plant mums: A few plants, such as mums, act as natural ladybug repellents. Other examples include lavender, bay leaves, cloves, citronella, and plants in the citrus and mint families.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your garden or specific plants.
- Hang sticky traps: Hang sticky traps near plants and other areas where ladybugs are present. Discard the contents regularly.
- Use insecticides: Purchase an outdoor insecticide and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply it. Ensure the product is safe for pets, children, and the plants in your garden.
- Ask a professional: Consult a pest control expert to weigh the pros and cons of deterring ladybugs from your garden. An expert will be able to identify the specific type of ladybug you’re dealing with and provide a custom solution to your problem.
Why Ladybugs Invade Your Home
Most ladybugs, also known as ladybirds or lady beetles, stay outside. However, one aggressive species is likely to invade your home: the Asian lady beetle. Often, those who think they need ladybug pest control actually need help getting rid of Asian lady beetles. While ladybugs are bright red with black spots, Asian lady beetles are more orange and may or may not have black spots on their wing covers. They also tend to be more ovular than ladybugs.
Asian lady beetles overwinter in large numbers to protect themselves from cold temperatures. During fall, as the weather starts to cool, they seek warm places to hibernate for winter. Homes and other buildings can provide the perfect shelter for these bugs, offering protection from the elements and a source of warmth.
Ladybugs are attracted to light-colored surfaces, which they mistake for their natural habitat. Light-colored homes, particularly those with southern or western exposure, can draw ladybugs toward them. Once inside, the ladybugs may release pheromones that attract other ladybugs to the same location, resulting in a large infestation.
Like other pests, ladybugs will naturally look for food and water sources. Pollen, nectar, and aphids may draw ladybugs to the area around your home. The ladybugs may then try to infiltrate your home during the colder months. Damp basements or leaky roofs can also make good homes.
Signs of a Ladybug Infestation
Here are some common signs of a ladybug infestation:
- Ladybugs inside your home: If you notice them inside your home, particularly during the fall or winter, it could be a sign that they are overwintering in your home. Ladybugs may gather in large numbers around windowsills, door frames, and other entry points.
- Ladybugs in your garden: You might notice ladybugs on your plants or crawling around your garden. In this case, they have likely been attracted by aphids or other garden pests.
- Ladybug odor: When disturbed or threatened, ladybugs may release a yellowish fluid with a strong, foul odor.
- Stained surfaces: The yellowish fluid ladybugs release can leave stains on the surfaces where they congregate, such as walls, windows, and light fixtures.
- Ladybug bites: Ladybugs are not typically aggressive toward humans but may bite if they feel threatened or trapped. Their bites can cause a small, red mark on the skin that is itchy or painful.
Note that most of these signs—including the odor, stains, and bites—may indicate the presence of Asian lady beetles rather than typical ladybugs.
How to Prevent a Ladybug Infestation
Preventing a ladybug infestation in the first place is easier than dealing with one that has already occurred. Here are some preventive measures you can take to keep ladybugs from invading your living spaces:
- Seal entry points: Use caulk or weather stripping to seal any small cracks or gaps around windows, doors, and other points of entry.
- Install window screens: Window screens can help keep ladybugs out of your home while allowing fresh air to circulate. Ensure your screens are in good condition and fit tightly over the window frame.
- Use door sweeps: Door sweeps are strips of material installed along the bottoms of doors. Use them to seal gaps and prevent ladybugs from entering.
- Remove food sources: Keep your garden and indoor plants free of aphids, mites, and other ladybug prey.
- Keep your home clean: Insects are attracted to warmth and clutter, so keep your home clean. Thoroughly clean any surfaces where you see ladybugs to remove their scent.
- Use natural repellents: Place bay leaves or cloves around your windows and doors, burn citronella candles, or use citrus and mint essential oils to deter ladybugs.
- Monitor potential hotspots: Regularly check areas where ladybugs may congregate for winter hibernation, such as crawlspaces and attics.
- Avoid crushing them: If you see a ladybug in your home, do not crush it. Doing so could release an odor that will attract other ladybugs to the area.
To prevent and control a ladybug infestation, seal entry points, keep your home clean, and use natural repellents or professional pest control services if necessary. Because ladybugs can be beneficial insects, we recommend considering nonlethal methods of control before resorting to insecticides or other harsh measures.
How to Get Rid Of Ladybugs FAQ
What do ladybugs hate the most?
Ladybugs hate strong scents that overstimulate their senses. Here are a few smells they dislike most:Bay leavesCamphorCatnipCitronellaCitrusClovesLavenderMumsPeppermint
What is a ladybug’s natural enemy?
Birds are a ladybug’s natural enemy. Other predators include frogs, spiders, wasps, praying mantises, dragonflies, assassin bugs, ants, and even other ladybugs.
Do ladybugs bite?
Sometimes, ladybugs bite. Most prefer not to bite, releasing a pungent yellow liquid when threatened. When ladybugs do bite, it can be painful. Some people have allergic reactions to ladybug bites.
Do ladybugs lay eggs?
Yes. Ladybugs lay their eggs in clusters along the underside of a leaf where aphids are present.
How We Chose the Top Pest Control Companies
Our pest control research process starts with analyzing customer reviews on third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. We then do a deep dive into each company’s website, service plans, and available cost information. We also secret shop the companies we review, reach out to representatives, and request quotes.
From there, we compile the information we’ve gathered and compare each company using our in-depth pest control methodology and review criteria. This process uses a series of factors that are important to our readers, and we score each company depending on how well they perform in each factor. For instance, companies that offer more guarantees for their service earned more points than others, and pest control plans with a larger range of covered pests earned more points than ones with fewer.
After analyzing dozens of residential and commercial pest control businesses through this process, we were able to determine the best pest control companies on the market.