Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home...
Photo courtesy of the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center
First it was stink bugs attempting to work their way into our homes and out of the approaching cold.
Now it is ladybugs.
The University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center reports that its getting fewer calls about the stink bugs trying to find a place to sleep for the winter. But homeowners are calling now about the multicolored Asian lady beetles, as they are formally known, that are now trying to find their way inside.
(Interesting note: there are more than 100 kinds of ladybugs, and they range in color from pale yellowish brown to bright orange red. And the number of spots can range from zero to 20.)
The ladybugs secrete an aggregation pheromone -- a kind of shout-out to their fellows - when they find a likely home, so you can see hundreds or thousands gathered on your siding, porches and screens. Some may actually get inside.
Unlike the stink bugs, which emit a horrible smell when disturbed, ladybugs are actually benefitial. I wrote about trying to "invite" them into my yard this summer to finish off the aphids on my roses.
I wasn't successful. I guess what I needed was a aggregation pheromone. Anybody know where I can pick one up?