Invasive ladybugs seek hibernation space

With the arrival of cooler weather and the impending winter, don’t be surprised if you start seeing more spotted beetles than usual.

Ladybugs are often associated with the arrival of spring, but with the arrival of cooler weather and the impending winter, don’t be surprised if you start seeing more spotted beetles than usual.

Brian Spencer, a microbiologist and president of Applied Bio-nomics Ltd. in North Saanich, says the invasive ladybug species commonly known as the multicoloured Asian lady beetle is in the process of hibernating.

“Like most beetles they have a winter congregation pattern. Sometimes they appear on the south side of a house year after year, sometimes they pick different houses,” Spencer said. “They also tend to find a way to get into people’s houses. They want to, over winter, be in your kitchen. They’re looking for a nice, warm place to spend the winter without freezing to death.”

Spencer says this species of ladybug was released in the 1970s in Georgia and has since swept across North America.

While the multicoloured Asian lady beetles aren’t native to the continent, they do play a role in controlling the aphid population in the spring and summer.

“There’s a bit of concern that they may displace our native ladybug species. (Native ladybugs) hibernate up in the mountains on the Malahat and climb under rocks. (Multicoloured Asian lady beetles) like structures better than rocks, and because of that their congregation pattern is more noticeable for us,” Spencer added.

The multicoloured Asian lady beetle is not the same ladybug species that local municipalities – Saanich and Victoria included – release to eat aphids. Those are the convergent lady beetles.

Cory Manton, Saanich’s manager of urban forestry, horticulture and natural areas, says they release convergent lady beetles on a handful of streets in the spring.

“We don’t have the same aphid issues as the city. We don’t have the monoculture-type species planting on developed boulevards that they have,” he said of trees that attract aphids, like linden, beech and some invasive oaks.

Spencer says the multicoloured Asian lady beetle is here, whether we want it or not and its numbers are building.

If you find ladybugs in your home this fall or winter, try to move them to a cool area like a garage. Spencer warns about reflex bleeding if you try to brush them away, so he suggests vacuuming them into a bag, leaving them for the winter and then dumping them in the garden come spring.



Just Posted

VicPD seeks person of interest after short-term rental ransacked

Combined losses for damage and theft are over $5,000

Whitecaps favourite switches to the Island

Marcel de Jong worked to end Whitecaps contract, joining Pacific FC on the ground floor

RCMP ask for public’s help to determine cause of weekend fire

RCMP are investigating the cause of the South Island Concrete fire

UVic’s cutting-edge centre leading the way in drones and AI

Centre For Aerospace Research works with partners including Department of National Defence

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read