That lady bug that landed on you the other day, much to your delight, might not have been a lady bug at all.
These bugs are similar to ladybugs, but they are a little larger and more aggressive. They bite, too! The native North American ladybug is often referred to as ladybird beetles in Europe. It’s harmless and friendly.
Lady beetles come from the Coccinella family. The native North American lady beetle (Coccinella novemnotata) is 9-spotted, and the native European lady beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) is seven spotted.
There are over 5,000 different species of these insects, and they all have different temperaments, characteristics and appetites, as noted by National Geographic.
Native ladybugs are harmless, don’t bite, and eat several garden pests. The multicolored Asian lady beetle causes destruction.
A study conducted at Penn State’s College of Agriculture Sciences confirmed that the beetles bite and leave a yellow defensive chemical which causes spots on the walls and fabrics. The fluid smells bad, and many people find it annoying. Some may even deal with allergic reaction.
How to spot the difference?
Multicolored Asian lady beetles are larger and have a wider range of colors when compared to native ladybugs. They have a distinctive black “M” design on their head.
If you have some of these at home, don’t rush into squashing them, because they will release their noxious yellow fluid. According to the USDA, house owners should seal any openings and holes.
Asian Lady Beetles enter window frames and wall spaces in fall, and congregate in the dark. They will leave the hole in spring to look for food. You can find them in attics, closets, crawl spaces and storage areas. Some bugs may move to another area in the house.