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Friendly invasion

DECATUR – Linda Qualls used a vacuum cleaner to sweep hundreds of little-legged beetles off her walls and ceilings Friday.

Saturday, October 14, 2000

DECATUR – Linda Qualls used a vacuum cleaner to sweep hundreds of little-legged beetles off her walls and ceilings Friday.

"They’re everywhere," she said. "You can’t hardly even eat because they’re all over the place."

Swarms of the ladybug-like invaders hit dozens of other Lawrence County homes this week, sneaking in through cracks and under doors.

"In the last two hours, we’ve probably had about 20 calls," Extension agent Laura Jane Murphy said late Friday. "It seems like they’ve just hit today."

The ladybugs, actually multi-colored Asian lady beetles, are sometimes known as the Halloween lady beetle because it’s pumpkin yellow to orange in color and large populations migrate around Oct. 31, according to Extension information.

Despite the nuisance of the swarms, the bugs are harmless, Ms. Murphy said.

Getting rid of the aggravation, though, is worth the price of Raid, said Elizabeth Evans.

"Every year right about now they do this it’s just aggravating," Mrs. Evans said.

The pesky critters invaded her County Road 46 home Thursday.

"We never saw one until yesterday evening," she said, adding that by Friday, it was hard even to get through the screen door.

Callers to the Extension office didn’t like the advice they received, Ms. Murphy said.

"You shouldn’t kill them because they’re beneficial to agriculture," she said.

They feed on harmful aphids and some scales associated with trees, shrubs, bushes, low growing ornamentals, roses, wheat, cotton, tobacco and other crops.

"You can sweep them up with a dust pan or vacuum and then take them outside ," Ms. Murphy said. "They’ll try to come back in, but basically it’s time to batten down the hatches."

The beetles do not bite, sting or carry human diseases, nor feed on wood, clothing or food, according to an Extension fact sheet.

Most beetles are reported in October and November when congregating for overwintering sites, and again in February and March during bright, warm, sunny days, attempting to get out of the house.

The "lady beetle" is not an endangered species or protected by Ohio law. However, the use of insecticides is not recommended. Reports indicate that beetles, after settling down on the sides of buildings, often leave on their own in a few days or weeks.

More information: http://ohioline.ag.ohio-state.edu/ Click "search," type "multi-colored Asian lady beetle."