Ladybugs are often called friends of the garden, but these bugs are not always a welcomed site. Some species of ladybirds are destructive, and even the harmless types can invade your home in large numbers, looking for a place to hibernate for the winter.
We’re going to show you how to get rid of these insects once and for all – from both your home and your garden. But first, you need to know how to detect ladybugs, so you can confirm that you have an infestation of them and not some other type of bug.
Table of Contents
- How to Detect Ladybugs in the House and Outdoors
- How to Get Rid of Ladybugs Naturally
- How to Get Rid of Ladybugs Using Chemicals
- How to Keep Ladybugs Out of Your House
How to Detect Ladybugs in the House and Outdoors
How can you tell if you have a ladybug infestation, or if it’s another insect that’s invading your home?
Here are some tips:
1. Consider the Time of Year
Ladybird infestations are more common in the late summer or early fall. Ladybugs are overwintering bugs, which means they hide out when temperatures drop in the fall and reemerge when spring arrives.
They may invade your home in the spring, too. When the weather gets warmer, they may emerge from their hideout and then return as temperatures fluctuate.
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2. You’ve Seen Ladybugs On or in Your Home
The most common and obvious sign of a ladybug infestation is seeing, well, an infestation of them. These bugs congregate in large numbers, and you’ll often find them gathered on the exterior surfaces of homes near cracks and gaps.
On the inside of the home, they’re commonly found on ceilings and walls.
Once these guys are inside for the winter, you probably won’t see them until warmer temperatures arise.
You may also find dead ladybug carcasses on your window sills or in other areas of your home. These are clear signs that you have an infestation.
To give you peace of mind, you should know that dead ladybugs are nothing more than an unsightly nuisance. They do not carry disease and transmit bacteria. They’re harmless – even after death.
3. You’ve Spotted Yellow Stains On Light-Colored Surfaces
When ladybugs are disturbed or frightened, they can secrete a yellow liquid from their leg joints that may stain light-colored surfaces.
This yellow liquid is actually their blood, and it has a foul smell to deter predators. The smell and bitter taste of the ladybug gives off a warning that they are not a great lunch choice.
If you’re seeing small yellow stains in and around your home, it may be from ladybugs.
But it’s important to note that other bugs can also emit liquids that can stain surfaces, including the boxelder bug and the stink bug. Typically, however, these stains are more of a brownish color. Ladybug stains are yellow.
4. Your Allergies Have Been Acting Up
Did you know that some people are allergic to ladybugs? Recent studies show that ladybird allergies have been on the rise and is even now comparable to dog and cat allergies.
The species of Asian beetles imported from Asia in the 1970s appear to be the culprit behind the rise in allergies. Now that these insects have made their way into New England and most other parts of the country, allergies are becoming an increasing concern because they tend to gather in very large numbers and hibernate in homes for the winter.
Infestations can become so large in basements that they cover the entire floor.
Symptoms typically include a stuffy nose, cough, asthma and conjunctivitis.
Of course, these symptoms can also be associated with allergies to other substances or even the common cold, but if you’ve seen a few ladybugs in your home and your allergies are acting up, you may just have a severe infestation on your hands.
5. You Have All the Right Conditions to Attract Ladybugs
Ladybugs aren’t like other insects. They’re not after the food in your pantry, and they aren’t looking to make a nest in your walls.
All they want is shelter for the winter.
They wouldn’t be infesting your home if you didn’t have everything they wanted in your yard.
Food is what attracts ladybugs (and most other insects). What do these bugs eat?
- Other insect pests
If you have a garden, there’s a good chance that you’re naturally attracting ladybugs and they’re seeking out a place to stay for the winter.
Even if you don’t have a full-fledged garden, just a few potted plants or the right plants in your yard can attract these insects.
If the weather is warm and you have aphids in your garden somewhere, ladybugs won’t be far behind.
How to Get Rid of Ladybugs Naturally
You know ladybugs have invaded your home – you see them everywhere. How do you get rid of them without spraying toxic chemicals around your home?
Most people will tell you that once these bugs get into your home, they’re very difficult to get out. That’s at least partially true. But you don’t have to be stuck with a ladybug infestation all winter long.
Here are some natural ways to get rid of ladybirds:
6. The Vacuum Method
The easiest way to get rid of ladybugs is to simply vacuum them up.
Vacuumed ladybugs can be tossed in the trash. Just make sure that you empty the trash immediately, so they don’t escape.
If you want to take a more humane approach, you can release these critters back into the wild – away from your home.
To avoid tossing dirty and dust back into the environment, here’s the safest way to vacuum and release ladybirds.
- Take an old pair of knee-high pantyhose, and slip it onto the end of the vacuum wand.
- Secure the pantyhose with a rubber band.
- Vacuum up the ladybugs.
The pantyhose will trap the bugs, making them easy to discard.
Please note that if you’re trying to get rid of a large infestation, vacuuming and releasing the bugs may not be practical or feasible.
7. Diatomaceous Earth
You want to know what kills ladybugs? Diatomaceous earth (DE for short). It kills most other insects, too.
This powdery substance is made up of the fossilized remains of algae, and its abrasive properties actually slice into the exoskeletons of insects. DE then absorbs liquids in the insect’s body, causing it to dehydrate to death.
DE is non-toxic to humans and pets, which makes it an excellent insecticide for both inside and outside use.
To kill ladybirds inside of your home:
- Sprinkle DE along windowsills, doorways and any gaps or cracks that ladybugs can enter through.
The same approach can be taken outdoors to kill any ladybugs in your yard. Just lay down DE along the perimeter of your home to deter and kill any ladybirds in your yard.
DE will also kill ants, roaches, fleas and just about any other insect that crosses its path.
8. Sweep Them Away
Another simple way to get rid of ladybugs without spraying chemicals is to sweep them out the door with a broom.
You can also use a broom to push large groups of these bugs out the window.
But do be careful when doing this. You don’t want to sweep them long distances because there’s a good chance you’ll startle them. Startled ladybugs will release that yellow liquid we talked about earlier, which can stain your floor, windows and furniture.
For this reason, you also want to avoid squishing these bugs.
9. Make a Ladybug Black Light Trap
An effective way to get rid of ladybugs is to use a black light to trap and kill them. You can buy black light traps in the store, but you can also make your own.
Here’s how to trap a ladybug:
1. Get Your Lamp Ready
You’ll need a lamp for this trap. To start, you’ll need to punch four holes along the metal lip of the lamp. Make sure the holes are evenly spaced.
To create the holes, you’ll need a hammer and nail. Make sure the light socket is facing downward.
Next, screw the black light bulb into your lamp.
2. Attach Transparency Film
Next, you’ll need a pair of transparency film pieces.
Cut each piece of film along the center, leaving just 1/2” at the bottom of one sheet and at the top of the other.
Join the two pieces of film together in an “X” shape.
Using a hole puncher, create holes in the corners of each piece. There should be a total of eight holes.
Tip: You may want to reinforce the holes with tape or hole protectors.
3. Get Your Milk Jugs Ready
For the next step, you’ll need two milk jugs.
Cut off the bottom portion of one jug, and cut a hole in the lids of each jug. The hole should be large enough for the ladybugs to fall through, but not so large that you can’t screw the lids back on.
Next, glue the rims of the two jugs together, and cut 4 evenly-spaced holes into the edge of the jug that has the bottom cut off.
4. Put It All Together
Using a set of cable ties, assemble the tree pieces together.
Start by attaching the top four holes of the transparency film to the holes in the lamp. Next, attach the bottom four holes to the four holes in the milk jug.
Experts recommend adding baby powder to the transparency film, so trapped ladybugs cannot climb up and out.
5. Use the Trap
Place the trap where ladybirds are most active, and turn on the black light. These beetles will be attracted to the light, and they will slide down into the bottom of the second milk jug.
When your trap is full, you can empty it by unscrewing the bottom milk jug and tossing out the dead ladybirds.
A DIY black light trap is relatively inexpensive to make. The biggest cost is the light bulb. You probably have most of the other materials in your home already.
10. Make Your Own Natural Insecticide
We all know that chemical insecticides can be purchased at just about any home and garden store. But did you know you can make your own natural variations of these sprays?
There are several types of natural, DIY insecticides out there, but the most common and effective ones are:
1. Oil Spray
One of the most effective insecticides is an oil spray, which is made with just two ingredients:
- Mild soap
- Vegetable oil
The combination of the oil and soap is deadly to ladybirds and other insects because the oil coats their bodies, causing them to suffocate and die. Regular vegetable oil will work just fine for this mixture, and we highly recommend Dr. Bronners castile soap.
For this spray, you’ll need:
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons soap
Mix the oil and soap together. When you’re ready to use, mix two teaspoons of the mixture to one quarter of water, and apply as needed.
2. Neem Oil Spray
Neem oil is a highly effective, natural insecticide. Extracted from the seeds of the neem tree, this oil disrupts the life cycle of insects in any stage, whether it’s egg, larvae or adult.
The great thing about this oil is that it’s biodegradable and non-toxic to animals, so you can spray it in or around your home without worry.
You can purchase this oil in most garden stores, or online.
To create your own spray, follow the directions on the bottle, or:
- Mix 1 teaspoon mild liquid soap
- 2 teaspoons neem oil
- 1 quart of water
Spray where ladybugs are most active, or in the garden to kill them. As an added bonus, you’ll also kill other plant pests.
Natural insecticides are a great way to kill ladybugs without damaging the environment or putting your family (including your pets) at risk. And most of the ingredients in these sprays can be found in your local garden store at relatively inexpensive prices.
You may need to adjust the proportions of ingredients to make them stronger or weaker based on your observances of ladybug activity. Try out a few of the methods above to see which one works best for you.
How to Get Rid of Ladybugs Using Chemicals
If the natural route fails, you can always use conventional insecticides and other chemicals to rid your home of ladybugs.
Some of the best chemical products to kill ladybugs include:
11. Harris Asian Lady Beetle Killer
Harris’ Asian lady beetle killer will also kill boxelder bugs, mosquitos, flies and a host of other insects.
Available in a gallon jug, this spray also comes with a hose and trigger spray for quick and easy application.
The active ingredient in this ladybug spray is deltamethrin, which is one of the most commonly used insecticides in the world.
And guess what? This insecticide, which is a synthetic pyrethroid, is also one of the safest in the world. In fact, it’s registered with the Environmental Protection Agency for indoor use.
Unlike other insect killers, this formula is non-staining and completely odorless. And it will keep on killing even after the application, offering residual control to keep ladybugs away.
This ladybug killer can be used both indoors and outdoors, so you can tackle the problem from both fronts.
And while this spray is generally safe for use around humans and pets, it’s toxic to aquatic life. Be careful spraying around bodies of water with fish and other aquatic life.
12. D-Fense SC Deltamethrin
D-Fense offers a potent suspended concentrate (SC) of deltamethrin, which controls not only lady beetles, but a host of other insects, including cockroaches, spiders, fleas, flies, ants, bed bugs, silverfish and more.
This insecticide is ideal for use in cracks and crevices to kill any ladybugs that may try entering your home. It’s also great for spot applications around the home. You can even spray this on mattresses, and it’s safe for use around pets and children.
Like the previous product, this spray offers residual control, so you can get infestations under control long after you spray.
One thing that’s important to note about this insecticide is that it does not come with a trigger spray, so you’ll need to purchase one separately. You can also purchase a lawn and garden sprayer, which is what most landscapers use, for easy application.
D-Fense’s SC Deltamethrin can be sprayed along the perimeter of your home, in cracks and crevices, along the window sill or anywhere else you see a higher concentration of lady beetles.
While generally safe for use around pets and children, do be cautious of spraying this product around pregnant women.
13. Termidor SC Termiticide
Termidor’s SC Termiticide will help you tackle your Asian beetle problem outdoors – the root of the problem. Lady beetles won’t lay eggs in your home, so the best way to kill them is form the outside where they live, feed and breed.
Termidor’s spray is a highly effective one, and as its name suggests is primarily designed for termite control. But as per the product’s description, you can use this spray along the perimeter of your home to kill Asian beetles as well as other insects, such as centipedes, pill bugs, boxelder bugs, ticks, crickets, paper wasps, yellow jackets, silverfish and more.
Essentially, this is an all-around insect killer that will keep your yard free of several pests – including lady beetles.
Fipronil is the active ingredient in this pesticide, which is an insecticide that disrupts the insect’s central nervous system. Essentially, it causes toxicity in the system, leading to hyper-excitation of the bug’s muscles and nerves.
This slow-acting poison gives insects enough time to return home and share the insecticide with others in the nest, spreading to other colony members and destroying the nest.
Avoid spraying this insecticide on outdoor vegetation, as it is highly toxic to bees. Bee populations are already under serious threat due to insecticide use, so spray only when bees are not foraging and avoid using it on vegetation.
14. Taurus SC w/Fipronil
Taurus SC offers an insecticide that is very similar to the previous model on our list. In fact, it’s designed to be a “generic” version of Termindor’s Termiticide, with a comparable 9.1% concentration fipronil.
Taurus’s formula is comparable to Termidor’s, and you receive 78 ounces with this jug compared to 20 ounces of Termiticide.
This SC w/fipronil insecticide works to kill Asian beetles from the outside where they live, but it will kill other insects, too.
If you’re dealing with an infestation of numerous types of insects, this spray is a great option.
Much like with the previous insecticide, you do have to be careful spraying this near any vegetation that bees may forage on – it will kill them, too. For best results, spray when bees aren’t out and about (and still avoid applying it to any vegetation they may normally forage on).
Please note that this insecticide cannot be shipped to CT or NY. It also does not come with a trigger spray or hose, so you’ll need to purchase one separately.
Taurus’ spray is not designed for indoor use and will continue working for months after application.
15. Buggslayer Insecticide
Buggslayer is a multi-purpose insecticide that kills Asian lady beetles, box elder bugs and a host of other insects.
Like the first product on our list, this spray’s active ingredient is deltamethrin, which is a synthetic pyrethroid. It’s safe for use around pets and kids, which means you can use it indoors if needed.
You’ll need to buy a trigger spray or some other applicator to apply this product, but it gets to work immediately and continues working after the initial application.
Available in concentrated form, this insecticide must be diluted before use (instructions are included). One bottle makes between four and ten gallons, depending on the concentration needed.
If you have a serious infestation (we’re talking thousands of ladybugs), this spray is a highly effective, fast-acting solution.
How to Keep Ladybugs Out of Your House
You now know how to detect ladybugs and how to get rid of them. But how do you keep them out of your home in the first place? Prevention is the key to preventing new ladybirds from getting inside and from future infestations.
16. Seal Up Entryways
The key to keeping ladybugs (and most other bugs) outside is to seal up any potential entryways that may be letting them in.
More often than not, it’s holes in window and door screens that allow these bugs to enter your home. Ladybirds are often found hanging out on the screens of homes, and if there’s a hole large enough for them to get in, they will.
And these bugs tend to infest homes at the end of summer or early fall – the perfect time to leave your windows open as the weather starts to cool down.
Before you do anything else, inspect all of the screens in your home. Repair any holes or replace screens if needed.
Next, check the perimeter of your home for any cracks, crevices or gaps that may let these guys inside. If you have siding, you may have more difficulty keeping them out, as the gaps in between siding often give lady beetles quick and easy entrance into your home.
Seal up any cracks or crevices you find with caulk or another appropriate sealant. For larger gaps, use foam.
If you have any gaps between the bottom of your doors and the floor, install door sweeps to fix the problem. These gaps are another easy way for Asian lady beetle to get into the house.
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Finally, you want to check your roof, vents and attic walls for any potential entryways. Be sure to seal these areas as well.
Sealing up entryways is the most effective way to keep these insects (and most other bugs) out of your home, so take the time to meticulously inspect your home for any crevices or cracks.
17. Use a Ladybug Repellent
Like most other insects, ladybugs are turned off by certain smells and substances. Some of the most effective repellents include:
- Camphor and menthol: Mix these two ingredients in a spray bottle with a little water, and spray where ladybugs are most active. These insects are sensitive to the smell and will drive them away.
- Clove: Apply clove oil to hotspots of activity, or you can place bags of dried cloves in heavily-infested areas.
- Citrus scents: Asian lady beetles detest the smell of citrus (as do most other bugs). Apply a citrus oil, such as lemon, orange, grapefruit or even lemongrass (not technically a citrus, but ladybugs still hate the smell) to infested areas to keep them away.
- Bay leaves: Place pouches of dry bay leaves in areas where ladybugs are most active to keep them away.
18. Build a Ladybug House
If ladybugs are attracted to your yard, you can keep them out of your home by building them a house of their own. You can purchase ladybug houses online that act as shelter for these insects in winter and during rough weather. These houses also protect them from predators.
Maybe you want the benefits of having ladybugs around, but you just don’t want to share a house with them. A ladybug house is great for this purpose.
19. Ensure There is a Natural Place for Ladybugs to Overwinter
If ladybirds have no other place to hibernate, they’ll come straight to your home for shelter when cold weather arrives.
Ladybug houses are one way to give these bugs a place to rest for the winter. But if you’d rather not place one of these in your yard, you may want to ensure that they have a natural place to hide for the winter.
When no houses are around, ladybugs will take shelter under leaves or bark, but they can also find places to hide in crevices of trees and rocks.