Cooperative Extension: Asian Lady Beetles: Harmless Garden Helpers or Aggressive Invaders?

Are you constantly dealing with tiny uninvited guests in your home or storage sheds, leaving you annoyed or with a huge cleaning bill?

You probably had an encounter with the Asian lady beetle (harmonia axyridis) also referred to as the Multicolored Asian lady beetle.

The beetle was intentionally introduced from Asia and quickly established itself throughout the entire United States.

The Asian lady beetle adults can be distinguished from other lady beetle species by a pair of white, oval markings behind the head that form a black M-shaped pattern.

Most adults have nineteen black spots on their forewings, but variability is common and spots may be missing.

Adult Asian lady beetles consist of several color patterns (morphs), varying from solid orange to red with black spots.

This Asian lady beetle species is often mistaken for the seven spotted lady beetle (coccinella septempunctata), which was introduced to the United States from Europe.

Both species are predatory and usually found feeding on the same insect host on plants such as crepe myrtle and tend to overwinter in large numbers.

The seven spotted lady beetle overwinters under rocks, abandoned shrubs near forest edges.

In contrast, the Asian lady beetle usually aggregates and overwinters in buildings and other manmade objects. They are attracted to light colored buildings but occasionally enter darker color buildings as well and will return the same building annually.

The Asian lady beetle is more noticeable in November to January in north Florida during the onset of winter and scarcity of food.

As a result of this behavior, the Asian lady beetle enters dwellings through cracks, crevices and

other small openings around windows, doors and roofs.

Once they enter buildings and experience warmth, they fly around and annoyance progresses.

As such, they are categorized as a nuisance during the flight period, aggregating on walls and other parts of dwellings.

They also produce a yellow, viscous, foul-smelling defensive substance when disturbed.

The defensive substance usually leaves spots on furniture and a foul odor that lingers in the air.


There are several things you can do to manage the Asian lady beetles.

• Seal building or caulked entry point to prevent infestation.

• If beetles get inside your dwelling, a black light trap can be used effectively to trap and remove them.

• Vacuum cleaners can be used to remove them, though, while effective, it will result in some spotting and foul odor.

In conclusion, though a nuisance, Asian lady beetles are considered to be valuable natural enemies and should be tolerated and conserved when possible.

For more information, please contact the Gadsden County Extension Office at 850-875-7255 or stop by the office on

Highway 90 at 2140 W. Jefferson Street, Quincy, FL. You can also stay up to date by following us on Facebook at UF IFAS Extension Gadsden

Donna Arnold is the small farms & residential horticulture agent for UF/IFAS Extension Gadsden County. 


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