While Asian Lady Beetle might sounds like a band you might catch on Red River during Free Week, it’s actually the name of a small insect that has been driving Austinites crazy lately. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department posted a video on their Facebook page this week, in an attempt to educate the public about these nuisances which are non-native species originally introduced to the south by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help control agricultural pests.
With over 360,000 + views and nearly 5,000 shares, it’s pretty clear that Austinites are bugging out a bit from this onslaught, much like we do when it’s cricket season.
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The video on TPWD’s page links to an article from the University of Kentucky Entomology Department. There, it points out a few notable facts:
One species of lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, can be a nuisance however, when they fly to buildings in search of overwintering sites and end up indoors. Once inside they crawl about on windows, walls, attics, etc., often emitting a noxious odor and yellowish staining fluid before dying.
In many areas of the U.S., these autumn invasions are such a nuisance that they affect quality of life.
Although Asian lady beetles do not transmit diseases per se, recent studies suggest that infestations can cause allergies in some individuals, ranging from eye irritation to asthma.
Of course, regular ladybugs are a wonderful part of our ecosystem. They eat other scaled bugs and aphids, to the point that stores like Natural Gardener sells the little pest controllers. These beetles, however? Well, they also do the same, but in a much, much more annoying fashion. And they have the potential to be dangerous to some members of your family.
Thanks to the many, many comments on the TPWD post, we did a bit more digging and found out that these guys are not only pests that stink, bite, and invade your space, they could also be dangerous to your four-legged friends. These beetles have been reported to become embedded in the roofs of dogs’ mouths. If they are left untreated, the secretions that these bugs emit can cause ulcers in the dogs’ mouths.
Snopes followed up with their own research on the matter and discovered this to be a mixed truth. However, according to the Daily Mail, a Kansas vet says that she has seen this multiple times, and dogs should be checked if seen drooling or foaming at the mouth.
If you do find yourself being driven insane by these tiny buggers, or if you are concerned about pets or tiny humans, you can either treat them with insecticides or vacuum them all up. You also have the option of then dumping them in a less populated area, if you really want to.
Featured photo screen shot from TPWD video