What should I do about ladybugs that seem to be congregating at my windows and even showing up inside my house?
Answer: There are thousands of different species of ladybugs that fly around, and sometimes in, our homes. These pretty, often spotted, ladies are great for the garden, where they eat troublesome aphids and other small pests. Although lovely in appearance and great for garden pest control, ladybugs can quickly invade and overtake our homes when they search of a warm place to hibernate for winter. Once even a few ladybugs find their ways indoors, hundreds more may follow.
So what can you do to get rid of ladybugs that seem to be congregating in and around your home? Although there is no guaranteed, foolproof method of removal, here are a few common and often successful suggestions:
Outdoor removal: For the ladybugs that seem to gather around your windows, doors and on your walls, make sure that those areas are properly secured with no feasible entry indoors for the bugs. Seal all cracks, secure all windows and caulk any holes or openings that may allow access to insects and other pests. This is not only a good idea for avoiding having ladybugs in the house, but it will also keep the warm air in and the cold air out during winter. You can spray the areas heavily infested with ladybugs with water from the hose, or use an insecticide made up of water and liquid soap. Just keep in mind that these bugs are your garden's friends when you're choosing what to do about them.
Indoor removal: Once the ladybugs find their way indoors, it is important to remove them because some species can bite and also release a yellowish, often smelly, fluid when scared. This fluid can stain light-colored walls, furniture and curtains. The quickest and easiest way to eliminate ladybugs from the home is to vacuum them up! Use a clean bag—you can add a layer of cloth to the bag to soften the bottom—and just suck them up. Once collected, immediately release the bugs outdoors, where they will overwinter and feast on aphids in spring. You can also try the insecticidal soap mentioned above, or another type of bug spray to control the ladybugs. Make sure to use a spray that is safe for pets, humans and the environment. Another removal method is to use a black-light trap, which implements ultraviolet light to trap and contain the bugs – you can buy these or try to make your own.
Prevention: The most successful way to keep ladybugs from assembling in and around homes is by proper prevention! Besides securing any possible openings that may allow any ladybugs to enter the home, you can try adding a "ladybug house" to keep them sheltered away from your home during winter. You can purchase one or create your own. Simply place it in your yard in a location that is convenient for you, and wait to see if the ladybugs collect here, rather than in and around your home. If all else fails and your ladybug problem has spiraled out of control, contact a professional for more options.
In the Garden How-To University: Solutions to Common Problems you will learn how to identify, treat and prevent pests that invade our homes and gardens.
With Natural Alternatives for You and Your Home, get inspired to create eco-friendly products from soaps and shampoos to cleaners and insect replants.
Want instant access to an abundance of great gardening advice and techniques for every season? Download the Horticulture Smart Gardening Guides: Q&A for Every Season.
Discover how the weather and environment affect your garden by checking out the Harness the Weather For a Better Garden Value Pack.