Ladybugs: Distinguishing Fact and Hype

In the past few weeks, a number of posts and online news outlets have reported the “dangers” of Asian Ladybugs, or lady beetles. A recently circulated picture shows a dog with a mouth-full of ladybugs with a warning that these beetles are different from other lady beetles and are more aggressive and dangerous. So, what’s the story behind this picture? And what do you need to know about clearing out a lady beetle infestation in your home?

Regarding the Picture

A quick internet search will show that the current image circulating of the dog with beetles stuck to the roof of its mouth, is actually a picture from fall 2015. According to the fact-checker site, Snopes, the image is real. But, the associated danger hype was over stated. In this case, as well as in similar cases, the dog most likely ate a mouthful of the beetles and a few got stuck. Eating a dozen or so beetles at once does cause an increase of mucous and can make your pet sick. However, the beetles aren’t actively looking for a home in your pet’s mouth. Neither the bug nor the dog want that scenario. In any case, if you see your pet behaving unusually or is exhibiting excessive drooling, do contact your veterinarian.

Regarding the Species

The recent news has focused on the multi-colored Asian lady beetle, distinguishable by the “M” shape on their heads. These are the ones that are labelled at prone to biting and being more of a pest than the common lady bug. According to Orkin, despite their unique appearance, the Asian lady beetle is the same species as the other lady beetles you see in your yard.

Ridding Your Home of Ladybugs

Although ladybugs are helpful in the summer, out in the garden, you don’t want them inside. Like any other buggy critter, a few are okay, but an infestation can be trouble. One female can lay 1000 eggs, and the buggies are moving in during the cold months. To prevent beetles, make sure your home is winter-proofed by checking the seals on doors and windows and checking the walls for cracks.

If they are already in, you can sweep or vacuum them up or place traps. If the infestation continues despite those measures, contact an exterminator for more information.