A flying horde of lady bugs has swarmed into the Midwest and Northeast along with the cool weather. Although the tiny, colorful, beetles do not pose any health threat, homes and schools have been reporting infestations, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
The arrival of winter often drives pests into homes, such as mice and spiders, as they try to escape the cold. Although ladybugs are much less intimidating visitors, "Once ladybugs invade a building they can be difficult to eradicate, so prevention is important," said NPMA Vice President Missy Henriksen in a press release.
A few simple steps are suggested to keeping the insects out, including sealing cracks around windows and door frames. Since ladybugs are attracted to warmth, sunny spots of the home tend to be prime real estate for their visits.
They tend to secrete an oily yellow liquid if disturbed, and they release an odor just before they die, so squashing them is not suggested.
For those too squeamish to catch and release them, the NPMA recommends using a vacuum to suck them up, and then opening the bag outdoors so they can't crawl back into the house.