Even people who hate every kind of insect make an exception for these little cuties: ladybugs.
I feel happy when they land on me. They're lovely, harmless, and beautiful.
If a swarm of ladybugs invaded my home, I might be mildly disturbed—but not terrified.
On the other hand, there's a kind of beetle that looks quite similar to the common ladybug that you should be extra careful about: the Asian lady beetle.
Doesn't it look a lot like the ladybugs you're used to?
Asian lady beetles are native to east Asia but were introduced to North America and Europe to control aphids.
But the Asian lady beetle is an aggressive species and is spreading quickly. They've even spread to South America and South Aftrica.
Asian lady beetles can be hard to recognize because they come in many different color combinations. But the main thing is that they are bigger than ladybugs.
But because they seem so alike, you might wonder if there's really such a big difference between ladybugs and their Asian relatives? The truth is scary.
Asian lady beetles bite humans and pets—and their bites can hurt.
"They have a habit of tasting things they land on," Dr. Alex Wild from Texas University told AWN.
It's no fun being bitten, right?
Asian lady beetles can also permanently stain furniture with a smelly yellow liquid that they secrete.
A single Asian lady beetle is nothing to worry about, but if a whole swarm gets into your house, you have a problem.
During the fall, large swarms of Asian lady beetles head indoors for the winter. They appear to favor houses with bright facades and a lawn in front.
"They're really a serious nuisance. This particular species seems to prefer getting into people's houses," explains Dr. Chris Carlton from Louisiana State University.
But be careful not to crush any Asian lady beetles while you're capturing them. They will release a disgusting smelling yellow liquid, which can be difficult to get rid of.
If your house is swarmed by Asian lady beetles, experts suggest a simple solution to remove them: vacuum them up.
How to recognize Asian lady beetles:
- Look at their pronotum (the back of their necks). You'll usually see a characteristic M or W (depending on where you're looking from).
- They usually ahve 19 black dots on an orange or red background, or two to four orange or red spots on a black background.
- They are bigger than common ladybugs.
Please help share this information on Facebook so that all your friends can learn to tell the difference between regular ladybugs and their more aggressive cousins!