Ladybugs are small insects, ranging from 1 mm to 10 mm (0.04 to 0.4 inches), and are commonly yellow, orange, or scarlet with small black spots on their wing covers, with black legs, head and antennae. They are generally considered useful insects, because many species feed on aphids or scale insects, which are pests in gardens, agricultural fields, orchards, and similar places. Within the colonies of such plant-eating pests, ladybugs will lay hundreds of eggs, and when these eggs hatch, the larvae will commence feeding immediately. In addition, they exude a viscous yellow, foul-smelling defensive compound when disturbed that may stain whatever it contacts.
The adults hibernate, usually on the south sides of large objects such as trees or houses during the winter months. In the autumn they search for cracks, crevices, or other acceptable microsites for overwintering shelter. The overwintering adults emerge from hibernation in spring and lay 10-15 eggs. Larvae pass through 4 molts over 10-14 days, after which pupation occurs. After a period of several days, the adults become reproductively active and are able to reproduce again. Total life span is 1–2 years on average.
Lady bugs overwinter inside wall voids and attics. Exclusion of crack and crevices around window and door frames, vents, overhangs etc. should be screened with fine mesh screening or other appropriate sealer. Late summer or early fall, a labelled residual insecticide should be applied around door frames, window frames soffits and other cracks or crevices where lady bugs may enter. Winter and spring, insect light traps can be used in the attic or dark room of the house to attract and capture lady bugs. Gold sticks and/or glue boards can be placed by the window to trap lady bugs. Insecticides should not be used indoors to control lady bugs.
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