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Asian lady beetles is an insect belonging to the Coccinellidae family of beetles. Originally native to areas throughout Asia, the beetle has been introduced to many other parts of the world and now can be found in North America, South America, Europe, and parts of southern Africa. The species is known for its distinctive appearance, including black spots and body colors ranging from orange to yellow.
This beetle is known by a variety of names. In North America, they are commonly known as the Japanese ladybug, whereas in the United Kingdom they are called harlequin ladybirds. The insects occasionally have been referred to as Halloween lady beetles and pumpkin ladybirds because of their tendency to enter human dwellings during the month of October. Most other variations of the name are associated with the particular members of the diverse species, leading some to call the creature the multicolored Asian lady beetle.
The primary reason for the introduction of the Asian lady beetle to countries outside of its indigenous Asian habitats was to control other insects that are harmful to plants. With a natural ability to manage and dominate lesser insects, especially aphids, gardeners and farmers often view Asian lady beetles as beneficial. Their use in outdoor and indoor plant populations in various regions around the world has caused the species to establish its presence throughout nature.
Despite the benefits for farmers and gardeners, many people view Asian lady beetles as pests. One reason that they have attained nuisance status for many is because of the species’ tendency to permeate homes and buildings during the winter months. Additionally, disturbed or crushed lady beetles may discharge a fluid that smells foul to most people and can potentially blemish or discolor fabrics and other surfaces. Asian lady beetles also have caused occasional unintended and adverse effects because their populations have grown unchecked in some areas.
There are many steps an individual or homeowner can take in an attempt to prevent Asian lady beetles from invading a structure. The most common method involves filling the exterior cracks in a building to keep the species from entering. Regular cleaning of a home’s interior may assist in controlling the presence of the insect, and vacuuming may be particularly beneficial. Furthermore, people may employ the use of chemicals to prevent or eradicate Asian lady beetles. Both poisonous chemicals and insecticides have been useful, and trapping devices may also work well for those who do not wish to use chemicals.