'Tis the season... for ladybugs! It's peak movement time for the Asian Lady Beetle, as the insects prepare for hibernation.
The Asian lady beetle is not new to the US. First seen in 1916 around the port of New Orleans, they were most likely stowaways on ships, like their more recent fellow passengers, stink bugs. Both species winter over inside structures, which explains why they like to come inside homes.
"This is a beneficial insect as far as control of aphids," says Eric Day, manager of Virginia's Insect Identification Lab. "Things like fruit trees and shade and forestry trees are all getting a benefit."
Day says the Asian lady beetle appears to be taking its place in the ecosystem here. Not only do they help control aphids, predators have discovered them, and this helps keep the Asian lady population beetle in check.