Autumn Beetle Invasion? 2 Common Pests Found in South Carolina Homes
It's only natural to think of summertime as the season to fight off invasive bugs. Ants, wasps, mosquitoes and flies infest homes mostly in the hottest months of the year. Once autumn and cold weather roll around, the flies, gnats and other flying insects seem to disappear.
But when it comes to the interior of your home, October and November can turn out to be more bug-infested than July and August. Blame the high numbers of insect invaders on two species of beetles that now make South Carolina their home.
Multi-Colored Asian Ladybugs
Multi-colored Asian ladybugs don't carry any diseases that are harmful to people. They don't infest the pantry, chew holes in fabric or shred wood. They do sometimes inflict tiny, non-venomous bites and cause allergic reactions in some people. The beetles are around 1/4-inch long, colored gold to red and sometimes dotted with black or brown spots.
In Summer, ladybugs are busy eating aphids that destroy plants like garden vegetables and roses. Ladybugs are wonderful non-toxic pest control for farmers and home gardeners alike. In the autumn, ladybugs are supposed to congregate and hibernate together in natural places like rocky crevices and beneath tree bark.
Instead, ladybugs sometimes invade homes in the thousands as the weather turns cold in October and November. Hordes of ladybugs may converge on your ceiling or window frame after a few initial invaders of your home release their attractant pheromones.
The pheromones are smelly agents that scream in ladybug language, "This is a heated house with plenty of room; join us for a nice winter sleep." Other ladybugs in the vicinity can't resist the call to join their friends in your nice cozy abode.
You may also see large crowds of ladybugs in February as the insects emerge from hiding and look for a way out of your home. Some people use paper plates or other non-harmful means to scoop up the ladybugs and set them free out of doors.
Kudzu bugs are relatively new members of the South Carolina pest menagerie. The invasive pest was first discovered in Georgia in 2009 and is now a nuisance throughout the Southeast. Native to India and China, the kudzu bug, or Megacopta cribraria, is from the Heteroptera order of insects which includes water bugs and bed bugs.
The kudzu bug resembles its stink-bug cousin but has a slightly boxier shape. Like the stink bug, kudzu bugs emit a foul odor when crushed and after dying. Adult kudzu bugs are pale brown with sage-green accents and measure around 1/4 inch long.
Kudzu bugs are all around you in the summertime, feasting on wisteria, peas, soybeans and kudzu pods. Most people in South Carolina don't notice them because they look similar to native Southern bugs in the same order. Come October, kudzu bugs make their presence known by trying to sneak into your nice warm home in large numbers. Like ladybugs, kudzu bugs love light-colored homes. According to experts, they seem to prefer white over all other home hues.
Prevent overwintering ladybugs and kudzu bugs in the home by sealing up all cracks and crevices around your foundation and the home's exterior. Architectural details and landscaping features make ideal nesting spots and entry points for kudzu bugs, so look for the pests in:
- Leaf litter near homes
- Door and window frames
- Sunrooms and heated porches
Pay special attention to sealing off areas with southwestern exposure. These sunny spots may attract more insects due to the increased warmth. Kudzu bugs and ladybugs fly very well, so they can find their way into second-story gaps as well as ground-floor openings. If you're seeing large numbers of either type of bug in your home in autumn and winter, a professional pest control company is your best ally to eliminate the problem and protect your home and garden.
Contact Bugman Pest Elimination today and schedule a complete inspection of your home. We can help you solve your pest issues in every season.