Insect Invasion

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

October 18, 2006

Residents in Albemarle County said they were under attack Wednesday night... by ladybugs!

"There are hundreds of swarming lady bugs," said Kevin Mausehund, as he stood in front of his home.

The bugs were infesting a number of homes in southern Albemarle County on Wednesday.

"They were released many years ago and they've had a little bit of a population explosion," explained Peter Warren, who specializes in environmental horticulture in Albemarle County.

Homeowners said the insects were causing quite a headache. It all seemed to happen overnight.

"This morning before I went to work, there were a few outside, not really swarming," said Mausehund. "I got back about 2:30 and there was a big nice swarm."

Experts say it happens every fall. The ladybugs are looking for a warm place for the winter. But getting them out of the house can be a challenge.

"There's no pesticide that you can use indoors that wouldn't be harmful to humans," warned Warren.

So spraying isn't much of an option. Warren recommends trying to vacuum the bugs up, although that can create a foul smell in the house.

Residents also said it was nearly impossible to sleep or eat when your home is crawling with ladybugs. And they do bite.

"People who have picked them up and held them have sometimes found that they get a little nip from them," said Warren. "It's usually not a serious thing, although every person has a different reaction to an insect bite."

For the most part ladybugs are harmless, and they won't do any damage to things inside you home. So the only choice could be wait it out.

"It's more a case of you can't stop them, you can only try to contain them," said Warren.

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