Skip to main content

Warm weekend launches invasion of the lady beetles


Not only was the weekend filled with abundant sunshine and warm temperatures, for many homeowners in Minnesota and neighboring areas it was also filled with the sight of swarming Asian lady beetles.

Many people reported seeing lady beetles by the thousands flying around and crawling on the exteriors of their homes.

The bugs are looking for protected sites to spend the winter, and they usually find those spots inside buildings.

The Asian lady beetle is similar to native ladybugs in that their bodies range from yellow to orange to red, with black spots on their backs.

But the most reliable identifying characteristic is a black 'M'-shaped marking behind its head.

This 'M' can look thick, thin or even broken in appearance, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

The unusually warm weather we had over the weekend, after several chilly nights, caused huge numbers of the beetles to get active in their search for shelter, the Star Tribune reports.

This behavior mimics the lady beetles' habits from their native Asian habitat, according to the extension service, where they fly to cliffs and rock outcroppings each fall to spend the winter.

In the U.S., the beetles seek out sunny sides of buildings during fall, then crawl through cracks and crevices until they find a cozy spot to spend the winter. Box elder bugs also behave in a similar fashion in the fall and winter, U of M Extension explains.

We seem to have a bumper crop of the beetles this year, in part because of our warmer than usual temperatures this fall. The warm weather has also caused a larger population of aphids, which are one of the beetles' primary food sources, according to KOOL 107.

So the beetles aren't all bad, the U of M Extension notes. And they're not harmful, although they can bite at times. They don't reproduce and they don't eat anything once inside.

Unfortunately, though, they emit an unpleasant odor to ward off predators, so when you kill them it can make your house smell.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends that you vacuum up any beetles or box elder bugs that get into your house.

To avoid having the dead-ladybug smell linger in your vacuum cleaner, the DNR suggests you attach a trap of gauze or nylon near the end of the vacuum hose, then clean out the traps and dispose of the dead bugs outside. (Diagram below)

To reduce the chances that the insects will invade your house, you should seal all the cracks and openings around the foundation, windows, siding and doors with caulk, and repair any damaged screens.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Kirill Kaprizov's slow start is a thing of the past

A potential sophomore slump has been erased with a three-point night against the Devils..

mpd aldi incident screengrab

Video shows MPD officer grab, throw Aldi customer

The department says the matter was referred to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

US Sec Defense Flickr - Joe Bide Nov 11 2021

Biden lays out wintertime plan to curb COVID's spread

It comes as the U.S. reported its second case of the omicron variant.

Willow River DOC

MN Dept. of Corrections offering $5K bonuses as it seeks to hire 200

The DOC is offering hiring bonuses for new employees and for referrals.


3rd federal medical team to join COVID-19 fight in Minnesota

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals.

hospital, emergency room

Driver killed after other motorist crosses into opposite lane

The head-on crash occurred early Thursday, just north of the Twin Cities.

shot clock

MSHSL approves shot clock for Minnesota varsity basketball

Shot clocks will be required at all varsity games beginning in 2023-24.

Redmons Popcorn Colbert screengrab

Popcorn shop featured on 'The Late Show' has to close 2 days later

A county inspection after the national TV appearance found code violations.


Viburnum beetle

Invasive beetle found in Minnesota for the first time

The beetle weakens and eventually kills viburnum plants.

Church ladies of Minnesota launch gay marriage crusade

The Atlantic profiles a group of suburban Twin Cities women – mostly in their 40s and 50s from different political parties and religious views – who have banded together to fight what many of them call an embarrassment to Minnesota: a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage that will appear on the ballot this November. The article also amounts to a profile of the Minnesota suburbs by an East Coast magazine.

Japanese beetles chewing way through gardens

The beetles rarely kill plants, but they feed on more than 300 different kinds of trees and flowers, eating holes in leaves and blossoms that can cause plants to become brown, KSTP reports.