If you live in the mountains of Appalachia, chances are you’re no stranger to the tiny insect known to scientists as Coccinellidae, but to most everyone else simply as the “ladybug.”
Despite their pleasant sounding name and cute, almost cartoonish looking bodies, ladybugs can become quite the nuisance to homeowners in rural-America and unfortunately, once you become infested with the itty bitty critters, they’re a hard guest to get rid of.
Has your house become ravaged with ladybugs? If so, here are some possible reasons why:
You live in the woods: Ladybugs’ favorite meal are tree pests like aphids and spider mites, therefore, ladybugs often live in densely forested areas.
You may not have realized it when you signed the contract to your dream home, but when you chose to move into the forest, you were also making the decision to cohabitate with one of the most important little creatures in the entire mountain region and unfortunately, they don’t always respect property boundaries.
They hibernated in your home: Just like the rest of us, ladybugs hate the cold of winter and they often hibernate inside rotted trees and in the crevices of rocks; however, occasionally they luck up and find a hiding place to winter in a temperature-controlled environment — such as inside your house, typically in an interior wall or ceiling.
In the event that a ladybug finds such a great hiding place, they will emit potent pheromones that can be detected by others up to a 1/4 mile away. Soon, word will get around the forest that your home is a perfect winter retreat and soon you’ll be playing host to hundreds of the innocent looking creatures.
Your home is the exact type of home Ladybugs go for: believe it or not, but there are certain types of homes that ladybugs prefer over others and woe unto that person whose earthly abode is the dream home of a ladybug!
According to The Lady Bug Lady, “Ladybugs are attracted to the light colored houses. Especially, homes that have a clear southwestern sun exposure. Older homes tend to experience more problem with aggregations due to lack of adequate insulation. The ladybugs come in through small cracks around windows, door ways and under clap boards. They want to hibernate in a warm, comfortable spot over the cold months of winter. Ladybugs gather in groups when they hibernate, so if you see one, you can be sure more will follow. The best way to keep them out is to repair damaged clap boards, window and door trim and to caulk small cracks.”
But how do I get rid of them: Now this is the million dollar question everyone in the mountain is asking and for great reason — though the insects are overwhelmingly harmless, they can be quite disgusting; their blood (a gross yellow substance) can stain just about anything and the chemical in their blood is filled with various scents all designed to attract hundreds of sexual partners and sleeping mates.
Unfortunately, given the fact that these scents can remain active for years, there’s not very much one can do in order to rid themselves of these insects for good, as the lingering smell affixed to your home — often completely unreachable deep within your walls does not simply just disappear.
Outside of paying an exterminator exorbitant fees, you simply don’t have a lot of options available… Sorry.
We recommend vacuuming them up, but make for certain that you don’t let the dead bugs hang out in vacuum for days at a time, as you might be amazed to discover how nasty a handful of dead insects can smell!
Your best option may simply be to embrace your newfound housemate. After all, there are certainly worse roommates one could have!
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