(WKBN) – People have contacted WKBN over the past few days complaining about beetles swarming the outside of their home. These beetles are unsightly and sometimes they produce a foul smell. They are often mistaken for ladybugs, but this is not the case.

What are these bugs?

The swarm of bugs pictured below is known as the Asian lady beetle, which is an invasive species of beetle from Asia. These beetles are sometimes called “Halloween beetles” because they often invade homes during the month of October as the weather cools off.

Courtesy: National Park Services

The differences between ladybugs and the Asian lady beetle can be subtle, but you can usually tell the difference if you look close enough. Here are some ways to spot the difference between the bugs:

  • Asian ladybeetles are often larger than ladybugs
  • Lady bugs are always bright red while the lady beetle can be yellow, orange, or red
  • Lady bugs always have spots, but the Asian lady beetle might not
  • Lady bugs have a round shape while the lady beetle is more oval in shape
  • Asian lady beetles have a distinctive white shaped “M” on their head while the ladybug does not
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Why does the lady beetle swarm your home?

Perhaps the most distinctive identifier of the Asian lady beetle is the fact that they tend to swarm on buildings. This happens when the weather turns colder and the bugs begin to seek warmer temperatures in sheltered areas.

The reason for the swarm is two-fold. First, the beetles emit pheromones that attract other beetles. Second, the beetles often seek out structures that are light in color. One way to prevent the beetles from entering your home is by sealing up any cracks in windows or walls.

Are lady beetles harmful?

The Asian lady beetle is an invasive species, but they are relatively harmless. While they can technically bite, they do not cause major issues on the skin. The beetles do not cause issues for plants either and can actually be helpful by feasting on aphids. These beetles can emit a foul smell if threatened, so that is something to keep in mind.

The biggest issue with the lady beetles occurs when they swarm during the winter time. They will often crowd surfaces that are warm around the house and will even invade your home if given the chance.

Where did the beetles come from?

The Asian lady beetle is an invasive species that immigrated to the United States via travel from Asia, however, it took some time for the beetle population to become established. There were many failed attempts to establish colonies in the U.S. until a population near New Orleans, Louisiana was established around 1988. The beetles quickly spread to other states and eventually made it to the Midwest where they became established by the year 2000.