Ladybird Control - How to Get Rid of Harlequin Ladybirds
Ladybirds are often considered to be completely harmless and are actually very beneficial in removal of pests such as aphids. However, Harlequin ladybirds are a different species to our native ladybirds, and have been recorded as existent in the UK since 2004. They can gather in your home in clusters, leaving behind stains and foul smells.
Although Harlequin ladybirds differ greatly from our native ladybirds in terms of their effects on our homes and the environment, in terms of appearance they can be hard to tell from native ladybirds. The Harlequins are usually a little larger than native ladybirds, ranging between 6 and 8 millimetres in size. Their colours can vary from yellows and oranges to black, and they have brown legs instead of the black legs of the native ladybird. In addition, there is a triangular white mark on the head of the harlequin ladybird, while native ladybirds have no white markings at all.
Harlequin ladybirds also cluster in places such as window frames, behind peeling wallpaper, and in corners, and can bite if disturbed. If you see a cluster of ladybirds, it is likely that they are Harlequins, and should be removed as soon as possible.
Before infestation can begin; the best thing to do as part of ladybird control, is to ensure that all entrances into the house (such as cracks in window frames, gaps under doors and so on) are sealed up. If you have vents in your walls, you can buy a fine metal mesh to fit over them. However, it may be too late in some cases, as the bugs may be hibernating in window frames, under sliding doors, or in other similar places already, and so you may still begin to see them emerge when temperatures become warmer.
Insecticide can be used before you even see any ladybirds, to prevent them from entering your home in the first instance. Begin to spray residual insecticide, such as Protector C Insecticide Spray in the autumn months, before ladybirds begin to hibernate, and you can avoid problems of infestation when it comes to spring and summer.
Dealing with Active Infestations
Once in your home, Harlequin ladybirds may be difficult to remove because they dwell in clusters and omit a strong-smelling, staining yellow liquid when distressed. Also, they may bite. Despite this, there are a few solutions that you should try.
One option is to hoover them up in their clusters. This is something better attempted when they appear to be sleeping, as this way you can catch them by surprise, and lower the risks of them escaping. If they do fly away, they may disperse and find somewhere else to settle, which will mean that you will have to find the newly formed cluster and risk staining from the yellow liquid they excrete in another area of your home.
Many pest control contractors will respond to infestations of Harlequin ladybirds, although they may be reluctant, as it is difficult to guarantee that the ladybirds will not return. In addition, this will cost you, and so if your house was infested once, then you should be sure to make all possible entrances sealed for the future. Many of Pest Control Supplies products are the same as the professionals, and DIY pest control treatment can be a drastically more cost effective alternative, we supply sprays such as Insecto Super Ladybird Destroyer Spray Gun, foggers like Insecto Ladybird Killer Bomb and fumers such as Fortefog Maxi Ladybird Fumer Smoke Generator.
We can also suggest sweeping the bugs up and taking them to a local tip where they will be incinerated, ensuring that that particular group will not return to your home.
The pheromones that the ladybirds leave behind attract other ladybirds, and so frequent cleaning of work surfaces and other places where you have seen ladybirds is recommended in order to avoid further infestation.
If all attempts at removing the Harlequins fail, do not worry because the ladybirds will usually leave by themselves after a short period of time; usually up to 2 months.
After the Infestation
As previously mentioned, Harlequin ladybirds can leave foul yellow stains on your surfaces. Wiping said surfaces with white vinegar can remove these stains.
Also mentioned previously, it is a good idea to ensure that all gaps and possible entrances into your home are sealed. If you have been infested once, it is important to check for cracks in window frames, gaps under doors and other potential weak spots in the walls of your home and fix them before the coming autumn to make sure that the ladybirds do not return.
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