They're probably not ladybugs at all...
Across the city, Montrealers have noticed — with joy or despair — a LOT more ladybugs than usual this time of year. But these friendly-looking bugs are often not ladybugs at all, but instead an invasive lookalike: the Asian lady beetle.
As Montreal homes are swarmed by these flying insects, it's suddenly quite important to understand them better, so we can take them out and live in peace once more. But what are these little guys doing here, and are they really a problem?
Just like ladybugs, Asian lady beetles can bite if they feel threatened, but these chomps are typically not very painful. They're not venomous, according to Better Homes & Gardens, but when in danger, Asian lady beetles can release a foul-smelling orange liquid to ward off enemies. Ew.
That liquid can stain clothes or furniture, so it's definitely a nuisance if your home is infested, CAA Quebec says. Asian lady beetles may also threaten native ladybug populations, so they've made it onto Quebec's list of exotic species "of concern."
Where did Asian lady beetles come from?
Asian lady beetles were introduced to North America in the 1980s when they were brought from Asia to protect American orchards from pests like aphids, CAA Quebec explains. Since then, they've proved to be hardy and hungry, even eating native ladybug larvae (scary) and their prey (rude). Now, they live as far north as the upper Laurentians, according to the Montreal Insectarium.
What attracts Asian lady beetles?
Asian lady beetles can come inside homes to seek warmer shelter during the cold months, which can be quite annoying despite being mostly harmless. They congregate in October, according to the Insectarium, which is why you've probably seen more this month than the rest of the year.
How do you get rid of Asian lady beetles?
If they've already entered your home, you can call an exterminator to safely remove them. CAA Quebec also recommends using a vacuum to suck them up, but be sure to dispose of them in a sealed bag so their bodies don't attract even more insects.
To prevent an infestation in the first place, make sure to seal any cracks or holes near windows and doors, and check your attic for any holes they could get through. After all, they're looking for a warm place to wait out the winter, just like the rest of us.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.