Pest Control

3 Things That Cause Ladybug Infestations

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Hubert Miles

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Ladybugs can be adorable for their bright red color and polka dot surface. They’re undoubtedly one of the least hated bugs because of their appearance. In addition, they offer significant benefits to the ecosystem by pollinating flowers and eating insects that cause harm. Even so, seeing thousands of ladybugs crawl throughout your house during the winter is not something you want to see. 

Winter is the time when ladybugs hibernate, and they choose a warm location. Since houses provide them with a safe environment and a temperature that suits them, they tend to live there throughout the cold season. Therefore, it is generally safe to have these bugs around, but you can suffer from allergic reactions if they stay for a long time. 

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With some simple techniques, you can prevent this kind of mishap from happening at home. But, what causes ladybug infestation? What made these insects choose your home? To understand these queries, you need to know more about ladybugs! So, the rest of this article will also explain everything you need to know about an infestation and its prevention! 

How to Spot Ladybugs at Your Home?

These bugs are red or bright orange. They grow up to 7 millimeters, with a rounded shape body. The top of their stature has black polka dots with an ‘M’ shaped white part around their eye area. 

They are also referred to as Lady Beetles, Asian Lady Beetles, and Lady Flies. Some variants of these bugs that dogs may be allergic to may cause them harm. 

It is fine to find one or two ladybugs here and there in the house. You shouldn’t be concerned about them, as they are not dangerous. In contrast, they can significantly benefit you by consuming dangerous pests, especially aphids, around your property. Look for these indicators for those who don’t know what an infestation looks like. 

When you notice these insects around your house in large quantities, check your doors and ceilings. Most often, they conjugate in these places. So ensure you look behind walls, through window panes, and wall cracks to be entirely sure about infestations. An infestation usually involves more than 100 bugs, reaching 20 thousand+. 

What Causes Ladybug Infestation? 

Ladybugs only cause infestations during winter. They are something called pheromones, which attract other ladybugs to them. They use this as a mode of communication as a mating call. Chemicals like these are highly effective and can be detected by other ladybugs more than 2 miles away and attract them to your house. 

Find out why ladybugs infest houses by reading the list below. You can utilize this to your advantage if you understand how prone your home is to infestation during winter. 

1. Winter Hibernation 

As previously mentioned, ladybugs only infest homes in the winter. This is because they like to hibernate during the cold months. Thus, they gather together in a comfortable place to spend the season and keep warm. In this way, they also teach their offspring what a good hibernation place feels like. 

They often gather in small, isolated areas where people don’t spend much time. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether ladybugs infest your house unless you see a few of them flying around. However, you can prevent this from happening by sealing your windows and small creeks around your home before the winter months.  

2. Old Houses 

Old, abandoned houses are the best places for ladybugs to hibernate. As these places do not have human activity for long periods, it’s perfect for these insects to use that place for warmth. In other words, you may find ladybug infestations in your cabins and seasonal homes that are not frequently used.

If you don’t want bugs infesting your old houses, fix the windows and make other minor adjustments. As the bugs are looking for a warm place to settle, ensure the doors inside the homes are slightly open. The rooms mustn’t become stuffy. 

3. Warm Atmosphere 

If your house is warmer than the neighborhood, you have a greater chance of facing an infestation during winter. These bugs always look for warm spots, so keep an eye out. 

Additionally, ladybugs tend to be attracted to bright colors. Being attracted to lighter colors makes them seem drawn toward white flowers. Therefore, if your house is white, light yellow, or beige, they will be more attracted to it than the other houses. 

Signs of a Ladybug Infestation 

You can easily find ladybug infestations around your house. However, they can sneak into corners of the house unnoticed. For this reason, during winter, you can look for some signs that might indicate there is a ladybug infestation in the home. 

These are very subtle signs, but you can start looking for them if you start seeing more than 5-6 bugs at a time. Remember, ladybugs are not harmful, so don’t kill them unless they are directly causing any serious threat to you and your family’s health. So, without further ado, let’s check out the hints!

1. Yellow-colored Secretion

This is the most common sign, which 100% proves a ladybug infestation in your home. When these bugs crawl around, they leave yellow fluid (hemolymph) in their blood. It can cause stains on the carpet, walls, and bed sheets. It smells pungent because this bug releases it as part of its defense mechanism against predators. 

Secreting themselves is essentially their natural response when they feel scared or threatened. It also alerts all the other ladybugs, so they know there is danger around. However, this smell can last for months, so it’s not a good idea to trigger ladybugs before you have a solid plan for removing them. Otherwise, it will create stress in the infestation area, and you’ll end up with stained walls. 

2. Red or Itchy Eyes

Having allergic reactions to ladybugs is quite common among people who suffer from common colds. In a study conducted on 99 people, researchers found that 77% of them who came into direct contact with ladybugs experienced mild allergic reactions. And participants who had infestations in their homes were comparatively less allergic to them. 

Red or itchy eyes were one of the common symptoms among the participants. Other than the study, in real life, many people report they get red eyes during winter when they come in contact with ladybugs. In this case, nothing excessive needs to be done. Just splash some cold water in your eyes 2-3 times during the day. It should be sufficient to fix the problem. 

3. Wheezing and Coughing 

Allergic reactions to ladybugs can sometimes mimic common seasonal allergies. You might experience a dry cough, headache, and runny nose. This is not likely to be a serious issue, so do not panic. If you take common allergy medications prescribed by your physician, you’ll feel better in no time. 

On the other hand, people with asthma might have a different situation. You may experience wheezing and severe respiratory problems if your condition is somehow triggered. Visit your doctor and ensure you’ve gotten rid of the ladybugs as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to contact your physician if you experience symptoms other than those mentioned here.

4. Itchy Skin and Hives 

It can sometimes lead to itchy skin when someone comes in contact with ladybugs. It can stay up to 15-20 minutes. Essentially these do not strike as a serious concern because it’s like mosquito bites. Ladybugs, however, do not bite. Earlier, we discussed how they leave their blood behind as a sign of fear, which causes the itching.  

However, if you think your skin is breaking out in hives, it could be because you are allergic to ladybugs. Various over-the-counter or prescribed allergic ointments are enough to get rid of them. Alternatively, you can also take a cold shower to calm your skin. It would be best if you didn’t scratch too much; otherwise, you’ll get cuts and scars. 

5. Unpleasant Smell 

Despite being adorable, ladybugs can smell quite a bit. When there are many of them together, it can create a foul odor in the whole house. This is because the hemolymph they tend to release has an unpleasant smell that can stay up to 5-6 months. During this time, if you end up touching it or it gets into your mouth, you might experience slight numbness for 20-30 minutes.

Dogs are known to be highly allergic to this secretion, which is why you should keep them away from ladybugs. Make sure they do not run after these bugs because it will create stress around the infestation. If this happens, you might have a smelly house for a while. Get your dogs to the vet immediately if their reactions to ladybugs are severe. 

Essential Oils

How to Get Rid of Ladybugs?

Getting rid of ladybugs can be quite a task. The following list includes some home remedies that you can try. They are straightforward to follow and can be done with some pantry items you already have at home. These, however, do not claim to be 100% effective because they might not eliminate the entire ladybug infestation and the problems that come with it. 

To avoid such situations, it’s always a good idea to seek professional help. They can get you the perfect chemicals you might need, depending on the size of the infestation at your home. 

1. Citrus Oil

Citrus oils such as lemon, orange, and bergamot effectively eliminate odors caused by ladybugs. If there is an unpleasant smell in a particular room, you can purchase oil sprays and use them there. It will not kill bugs but eliminate the scent they create to call other ladybugs in your home. So, you can prevent an infestation from forming in this way. 

Furthermore, it would hide any floral smell coming from your backyard or garden, which might have been why your house favored ladybugs in the first place. You can also try putting dried or fresh lemon zest in the rooms. It will soak up the odor caused by the ladybug’s blood. However, do remember to replace them every 6-8 hours. 

2. Bay Leaves and Cloves 

For thousands of years, bay leaves and cloves can repel bugs so that you can put them inside or outside your house.

Alternatively, you can plant a bay tree, which is always an effective insect repellent. It will keep away mosquitoes, spiders, cockroaches, and even rats. Unfortunately, some people like to burn bay leaves on stovetops and spread the smell throughout the house.

Cloves are also very useful in these cases of infestation. The pungent smell keeps small insects away from entering houses. Start preparations for winter by putting a few cloves around the house, preferably near the windows. In this way, ladybugs would not be able to enter your home. Therefore, it would be less likely to have an infestation. 

3. Chrysanthemums 

Everybody knows a chrysanthemum tree because it’s pretty common in every place. But did you know they are used in insect repellents? Yes, natural organic products that are made to kill insects have chrysanthemums’ pyrethrum. In addition to working against ants and ticks, it also works against fleas, mosquitoes, and bed bugs.  

Chemicals like this are only poisonous to insects, so your pets will not be affected. In addition, bugs deliberately ignore these plants if they see them nearby. So, it would be very effective if your house is prone to ladybug infestation. On the other hand, Chrysanthemums are beautiful to brighten up the area around your home.

4. Various Traps 

In the market, there is a wide variety of traps for preventing pests from entering your home. Using a light trap, for example, is quite helpful since most insects are attracted to light. More specifically, when the bugs approach the trap, it shocks them with high voltage electricity until they die. So, you can try investing in 4-5 lamps to keep them around the house in winter. 

Another effective method is using diatomaceous earth. It’s made up of fossilized algae, making it quite rare. Many kinds are available, but the food-grade one would be appropriate for insects. When bugs are near these clays, the silica dissolves the waxy outer coating from their exoskeletons. As a result, they dehydrate and die as they can no longer retain water.

5. Professional Help

When your house already has a ladybug infestation, the best thing you can do is get professional help. It can become quite dangerous if you deal with many insects. These bugs can cause a lot of havoc around your home, leading to allergies and bites. So, to keep your family safe from this, you must evacuate the place properly.

Sometimes, this process can take days to eliminate an infestation. This is because the companies use potent chemical compounds, which can harm human health. However, these long-term processes will ensure you don’t have ladybugs the following winter. So, it may be a lengthy method, but it will be very beneficial in the end. 

Will the Ladybugs Ever Return?

Once removed, ladybugs can come back again. It is because they want comfort. So, if your house provides them warmth and food, they will return next year! 

In subsequent years, some homeowners put wooden ladybug houses in their backyard so that the insects would stay there instead of in their homes. But, again, it surprisingly works very well!

However, if you don’t want the bugs to return next winter, you probably have to invest in professional help. The chemicals used in those processes are effective enough to keep ladybugs away from your home for up to 3 years

Another thing you can do is, when you start noticing that ladybugs are coming back, you can begin to vacuum them outside the house to safe places. This way, you would not have to kill the insects, and they would stay away from your home for good. In areas where there are already 500 or more ladybugs present, this method would not work.

Here is a video explanation if you wish to see an example of vacuuming them up with a shop vacuum.


Ladybug infestations are pretty common around rocky areas and homes with gardens. They do not necessarily cause any harm to human beings, but it’s better to keep a distance from them when they are in large quantities.

In addition, more allergic reactions have been reported to ladybugs in recent years than ever before. You should therefore avoid interacting with them directly. 

Getting professional help is essential if ladybugs are infesting your home, regardless of whether you are allergic to them. I hope this article has helped you with your queries regarding what causes ladybug infestation and its prevention.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting professional home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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