April 6, 2010

Lady Bugs Part III: Eradication

So now that you know how to identify MALB and something about the basic biology you need to know about Integrated Pest Management (IPM). There are 4 main methods of eradication, I have placed them in order of my preference on how I would go about removing them from my home.

1. Exclusion (has 4 parts which are in order of my preference)

A. Seal and Screen: in this method your goal is to make your house less of a target by replacing leaky windows, sealing cracks and holes with caulking, and replacing screens with holes with newer less "holy" screen mesh or repairing the mesh

B. Watering: this method attempts to make your home a inhospitable host for the MALB by using water around and on your house during their peak activity hours (11 am - 4 pm) and when the temperature is above 60 degrees F

C. Botanicals (these are untested methods so if you try them out keep track of their use and report back to "us" {mainly me}): this method attempts to reduce the number of MALB that make their way into your home by placing camphor crystals or tablets in knee-high areas outside your home, use a diffuser inside the home to disperse camphor essential oil around the inside of a room, burn vanilla candles, and/or place bay leaves in window sills

D. Exterior Pesticides: this method used pesticides to kill the MALB that are around the outside of the house; remember that restricted use pesticides must be applied by a professional, the areas that should be covered are the roof line, base of walls, and the windows and doors; the recommendation is to use pyrethroids such as deltamethrin, cypermethrin, or cyfluthrin

2. Trapping: use a vacuum, pheromone trap, sticky trap, modified black light trap, and/or manufactured black-light trap to trap the MALB which then removes them from your home, you may then want to introduce them to your diversion (see below) and determine if they will stay there

3. Diversion: in this method you are trying to create or modify an existing structure with the hope that the MALB will decide that this structure is a more suitable habitat than your home; some recommended tips include a structure which is taller than your house (MALB are attracted to the tallest structure on the horizon), paint the structure a lighter color than your home (such as white), make sure that the structure has lots of tiny spaces for the MALB to use, and keep the structure in a warm and dry location (NOTE: in Asia, MALB overwinter in cliff sides and roof faces)

4. Camouflage: in this method you are attempting to make your house appear to be an inhospitable structure for the MALB ; do this by painting your house a dark color, remove dead insects from your home (you may want to put them next to your diversion structure in order to attract the MALB to it), and remove the tallest object from your home

References Used:

Lady Bugs Part II: Life Cycle and basic Biology

Lady Bugs (Family Coccinellidae, Order Coleoptera) are generally beneficial field and garden arthropods (insects). Both adults and larvae are predators and they live in the same areas. They range from generalist (eating a variety of insects) to specialist (eating a specific type of insects such as mites or scales) predators. Adults may also eat honeydew, pollen, and/or nectar in addition to eating garden insects.

MALB, Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallus)

MALB was imported into the U.S. in 1916 to control insect pests. They are effective at controlling harmful pests such as scales and aphids. However, a population was not found until 1988 in New Orleans and throughout other parts of Louisiana. They will exhibit "reflex bleeding" which is a defensive reaction where yellow fluid with an offensive odor is released from leg joints. This behavior is typically performed when MALB is agitated or squished and allows them to escape possible predation. WARNING: this fluid may stain walls and fabrics.

Moves into sheltered locations such as homes in order to survive winter temperatures which makes it a nuisance pest. It is, also, pushing native Coccinellidae species out of their native ranges.

Life Cycle:
1. Adults overwinter in shelter

2. Adults lay eggs in early spring on host plants
3. Eggs hatch within 3-5 days

4. Larvae feed and molt for 20 days

5. Pupa is formed and lasts for 3-10 days

6. Adults emerge and continue feeding on insects

References Used:
Cranshaw, W. 2004. Garden Insects of North America: the Ultimate guide to Backyard Bugs. Princeton university Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. (Pages 544)

Pedigo, L.P., and Rice, M. E. 2006. Entomology and Pest Management, 5th Edition. Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, USA. (Pages 117, 439)

Please note that again I used links to show credit for images and to give you locations to find more interesting pictures and information.

Ladybugs Part I: identification

So last week (now several months ago) one of my friends in Nebraska called and left a message saying that he had an insect problem and asked that I call when I get a chance. I returned his call and left a message letting him know that if he needs and id then he needs to send me a photograph or a dead carapace but if he had a question he could call me back and ask. After some phone-tag Shane and I finally connect. He told me that he has a problem with what he thinks are Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles (MALB, Harmonia axyridis) in his basement but that they are moving upstairs to the upper levels and he wanted to know how to get rid of them.

As any extension agent or fellow entomologist SHOULD tell you, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you have properly identified the pest. In order to do this, you need to have a key that aids you in identifying the insect pest. For identification, the first thing is to be able to recognize a beetle (order Coleoptera) from other insect orders.
NOTE: if you click on the links you will go to the page where I obtained the photo and you can find additional information and products on these pages.

Note- you may need to go to the site in order to read the captions and see which parts are where in order to use the below Lady bird beetle "key"; "wing cases" are the elytra which is the hard wing that protects the membranous flight wings which are located underneath the elytra (key coleoptera characteristic)

The second part of identification is how to determine a MALB from other lady bugs (Family Coccinellidae), here I provide adult descriptions only:

Seven Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempuncta (Linnaeus)
Convex and oval shaped; tan, red, or black with contrasting yellow, white, black or red spots

Pinkspotted Lady Beetle, C-mac, Coleomegilla maculata (DeGeer)
Pink with black spots

Twice Stabbed Lady Beetle, Chilocous stigmata (Say)
Round elytral spots near the middle of each wing cover

Chilocorus bivulners (Mulsant)
Large elytral spots placed next to the pronotum- sorry I couldn't find a photo for this lady "bug"

Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens (Guerin-Menville)
Shiny black thorax with light yellow markings; two, long, narrow white marks converging on the pronotum

Two Spotted Lady Beetle, Adalia bipunctata (Linnaeus)
Each elytra has a single, round black spot; M shape on the pronotum; and the pronotum has a yellow border

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, MALB, Harmonia axyridis (Pallus)
Several spots which fuse on the white pronotum into an M shape

Pedigo, L.P., and Rice, M.E. 2006. Entomology and Pest Management, 5th Edition. Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, U.S.A. (Pages 116-117, 319, 439)

Salsbury, G.P., and White, S.C.2000. Insects in Kansas. US Department of Agriculture. (Pages 208-210)