Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - 13
reproduce more quickly than the native red species,
outcompete them for food sources, and in some cases,
even kill them. The same needle-sharp mouth parts that
puncture and eat aphids can also nip humans, who can
develop asthma-like reactions to the defensive chemical the bugs produce. The odor itself, which the beetles
emit from their leg joints to ward off danger and guide
each other-a mass of ladybugs is less likely to become
prey for mice or other animals-isn't pleasant.
Then there's the sheer downside of having bugs inside your humble abode.
"It's not a good thing to have hundreds or thousands
of those beetles crawling around in your house during
the winter," Townsend points out. And if they're hunkered down in baseboards, walls and suspended ceilings
during the cold-weather months, they'll surface again
once spring arrives when they try to escape to the outdoors.
Still, the beetles do what they were originally brought
here to do: eat a lot of bad bugs, especially soft-bodied
insects that can devastate trees, shrubs and crops. "The
benefits," Townsend notes, "are in the several hundred
aphids that each one of these beetles eats as it grows up
from egg to adult."
If They're Bugging You...
To keep Asian lady beetles from taking over your house this
* Deal with them outside. Spray accumulations of beetles
with insecticidal soap. "You're way behind in the battle
if you're trying to fight them inside," says Lee Townsend,
extension entomologist at the University of Kentucky.
* Block obvious pathways. Install screens on attic ventilation openings, make sure door sweeps fit tightly, and caulk
around windows. "The kinds of things that you would do to
prevent heat loss and make your home energy-efficient in
the winter," Townsend says, "are going to be the same kinds
of things that will help keep the insects out."
* Vacuum them up and release them outdoors or dispose of
the bag. Otherwise, they might survive and crawl out later.
* Don't overreact with bug bombs and other interior pest
* Maintain your perspective. "We can reduce numbers but
we can't eliminate them because we're trying to protect a
small island from an ocean of production with the beetles,"
Townsend says. "Hopefully we get to where we reach some
sort of peace or balance with them."
Take a good long look at forever.
Hand in hand is a wonderful way to share the awe and
delights that await you at Grandfather Mountain. Share
the joy today and help us preserve it for tomorrow.
w w w. g ra n d f a t h e r. c o m
WONDERS NEVER CEASE
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Contact: Frank Ruggiero (828) 733-2013