MILWAUKEE - As the amount of sunlight continues to decline in fall this is an evolutionary trigger for insects to begin prepping for winter. One insect, in particular, is especially visible this time of year and is often confused with the Ladybug.
The Asian Lady Beetle is an invasive species that looks very similar but has many distinct differences in appearance and behavior that sets it apart from the native Ladybug.
Identification of Asian Lady Beetle
Asian Lady Beetles are searching for warm and dry places to spend winter in and leads them to swarm homes and buildings. The American Ladybug will not do this and does not swarm in large groups.
Once inside the invasive Asian Lady Beetle can expel a foul odor and even bite when provoked which can even be harmful to your pets. The American Ladybug is much more docile.
The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is the white M shape on the back of the Asian Lady Beetles' head. These insects have become so numerous in Wisconsin that most assume these are Ladybugs but the sad fact is most beetles you'll find of the red and orange color are no longer native. The Asian Lady Beetle is aggressive and has found the Midwest and Wisconsin to be a perfect home.
The native American Ladybug is very beneficial to controlling aphid populations and is a welcome sight in gardens but stands no match to this invader.
Smashing them yourself is one way to handle their take over but for massive infestations contacting an exterminator is recommended.