An unexpected winter guest
By Sam Nunes, Environmental Educator
As the days start to get shorter and the temperature starts to get colder, many people may be experiencing a strange ladybug infestation in their homes. This isn’t a freak sign of the end of the world, but it might be a good sign that you need to get your house checked for holes that might be leaking heat. In these fall months, ladybugs are getting ready to hibernate overwinter, and they tend to like rocky areas, under forest debris, tall grassy areas, and under tree bark. The scaffolding on older homes simulates the peeling bark on trees such as shagbark hickory and the ladybugs are attracted to the heat our homes radiate.
One May Lead to Many!
The problem arises when the ladybugs stumble upon a hole in your wall that allows them to come all the way inside your home which is a very comfortable temperature for them as well. Once one or two ladybugs find their way into your home, they let off strong pheromones that can attract other ladybugs up to a quarter mile away! This pheromone is strong and can even last years, telling future generations where to find a comfortable hibernation spot.
Is it all that bad?
Having ladybugs in your home overwinter may not be a terrible thing though. Ladybugs are well known for their beauty and supernatural luck giving powers, but what’s less widely known is that they are excellent pest hunters. Ladybugs are great to have around if you have a problem with aphids, which are small insects that can infest your indoor plants. Many times you can identify aphids by looking for small yellow or white dots bouncing around on your plants.
If you find ladybugs in your home, it’s a good idea to have someone check your walls and windows for holes and cracks. Not only will this let the insects in, but it will let the heat out!