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Lady beetles everywhere, but are just a nuisance

 
SPRINGFIELD -

The small, ladybug-like insects that seem to be swarming everywhere lately are looking for some nice Illinois homes where they can spend the winter, an expert says.

In their native land, Asian lady beetles would normally winter in the mountains. But because this area is bereft of high peaks, they are looking for the next best thing - big, two-story white farmhouses, for instance, said Mike Roegge, a crop systems educator with the Adams-Brown unit of the University of Illinois Extension Office.

"They hibernate as adult beetles - anyplace they can find," Roegge said. "They prefer sheltered areas, so that's why they find their way into homes."

The Asian lady beetle population has grown exponentially recently because of an increase in one of their chief food sources, the soybean aphid. Its numbers rose this year due to the unusually cool summer.

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Not very ladylike

 

Swarm of insects on campus continues to bug students

Phillip Pluta

Issue date: 10/21/09 Section: Campus

ISU is being invaded by pests.

"I got attacked by a lot of them when I was coming from the College of Business," said Durell Miller, a junior insurance and risk management major.

"They bite," said Savanna Hubler, a sophomore criminology major.

"They're ladybugs," said Peter Scott, an associate professor of ladybug swarmbiology. "But they're actually a kind of beetle, and there is more than one species; each one very hard to identify."

He said the multi-colored bugs seen around campus are most likely Asian ladybird beetles. Scott said they were brought from Asia to be used as garden pest control and are the most common species in Indiana.

"They sometimes prey on other ladybirds," he added.

Asian ladybird beetles can have highly variable color patterns, ranging from red with no spots to all black with various spot colors. mostly prey on soft-bodied insects and sometimes even each other in their larvae stage. They have been reported to spread rapidly and are also known to outcompete other native ladybird beetle species.


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