For many, spotting a ladybug during your day is considered good luck. These small, spotted creatures—also known as lady beetles—are actually very healthy for the environment in most cases. They eat up aphid infestations and other bugs that prey on our garden.
However, if ladybugs find their way into your home and multiply, a cute sighting can turn into a major problem. In this guide, we explain how to get rid of ladybugs in your home safely and quickly. We’ll also cover ways they may be sneaking back into your home, where they hibernate and reproduce, and how to shepherd them back into your garden where they can actually benefit your property.
Ladybug infestations can also quickly grow beyond your control without a professional eye. When in doubt, we always recommend reaching out to a top pest control company like Terminix, Orkin, or Aptive.
You’ll rarely find a lone ladybug in your home or garden, but when you do, it’s often a fun discovery. In reality, that little beetle is most likely traveling from a nearby colony where hundreds of ladybugs are born and gather together.
Great in the Garden
Ladybugs are often seen as a benefit to outdoor environments. Farmers enjoy these large colonies to balance out the aphid population, which is known for damaging crops. Ladybugs may lay their eggs near the aphid larvae so young ladybugs can feast as soon as they’re born—further helping cut down the aphid population in a vegetable or flower garden.
It’s important to know, however, that there are thousands of lady beetle species, and some are more helpful to your gardens than others. A few species or insects that look very similar to ladybugs, such as the Mexican bean beetle, will even feast on your plants instead of your plant pests. If you spot a non-spotted red beetle eating all the leaves in your garden, you may have a Japanese beetle issue instead.
Ladybugs do not typically bite humans, but they can lightly bite or pinch if they feel threatened. Some people experience allergic reactions to these small attacks, including a rash, welts, sneezing, or itchy eyes. Ladybugs can also lay up to 1000 eggs in their lifetimes, making it easy for them to set up shop in your home over time. Luckily, they do not present any threat to the wood or fabric in your homes like other creatures.
Ladybugs in Your Home
Ladybug colonies traditionally cluster in your home in the colder months to find a place to weather the winter. They can even emit trails of pheromones to attract other ladybugs to take shelter in their newly found spot. Ladybugs will find a warm, dark, and protected area to lay eggs in the fall before winter comes.
How They Get In and Why They Stay
Ladybugs are attracted to the warmth and safety of your home for nesting, the same way they gather inside tree trunks and under large rocks. They may creep in through windows, under doors, throughout basements, and in drainage pipes. You’ll typically find ladybug colonies appear in corners of rooms or windows for this reason.
Ladybugs can also travel inside via houseplants, especially those that you transfer from the outdoor porch to the living room before the winter. Once they’re inside, they may use their chemical secretions to attract the rest of a colony.
Ladybugs typically live for an average of one year—making them tricky to keep up with if they’re settling in for the season. During this time, they will lay thousands of eggs and multiply quite quickly if not contained.
Steps for Getting Rid of Ladybugs
Though ladybugs do not pose a major threat to the health or structure of your home, you do want to discourage them from taking up residence in the long run. Prevention, removal, or relocation are three ways to get rid of ladybugs, even if you have a colony forming. Here are the top ways to get ahead of your ladybug infestation or prepare for a possible infestation.
1. Sweeping and Vacuuming
As simple as it may sound, gathering up ladybugs with a dustpan or vacuum is one of the easiest ways to remove a colony. For example, vacuum up a large group of ladybugs and immediately empty the vacuum bag outside. Physically relocating the colony will discourage more from joining if the infestation has not grown too large. After they are removed, wash the area with soap to eliminate any chemical trails used to attract more bugs.
2. Dish Soap
If your infestation has grown out of control and it is too difficult to simply relocate the colony, dish soap is a simple way to get rid of a large range of small bugs in your home. Spray a colony with soapy water or leave a bowl that combines soap and water near a light source where they gather. The thickness of the soap keeps the ladybugs from leaving the water easily.
3. Duct Tape
Hard-to-reach ladybugs can be lifted up with duct tape wrapped around your hand or finger. This allows you to safely remove the colony and relocate them outside. You can also simply leave duct tape out to act as an easy trap.
4. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth offers an easy way to kill bugs in your home. The white powder can typically be found online or even at your local home repair store. Sprinkle the powder around your colony or at the edges of common entry points to both deter and eliminate new infestations.
5. Light Trap
Make a ladybug-friendly light trap at home with common items in your kitchen. Cut a plastic soda bottle in half and flip the top half into the bottom portion to create a funnel. Add an LED light into the funnel, leaving room for the ladybugs to enter the bottom of the bottle. The beetles will flock toward the light but then get stuck in the trap, ready for release outside.
6. Surround Your Home With Mums
When the fall rolls around, fill your home, garden, and porches with mums—a plant ladybugs particularly hate. Since this is the prime season ladybugs will come looking for a place to stay for the winter, the smell of the mums will deter them from filling your property.
7. Natural Repellent
A range of herbs and essential oils can also deter ladybugs from gathering or entering your home in the first place. Be sure to check if these items are safe for pets and children if they are in an easy-to-access location. In the case of essential oils, dilute a few drops in a carrier oil or a spritzer bottle and spread across the areas where the bugs congregate.
- Lavender oil
- Lemon or orange oil
- Cloves or clove oil
- Bay leaves
8. Chemical Repellent and Traps
You can also find a range of very thorough ladybug repellents and killers online. Many of the sprays aim to keep ladybugs from gathering and kill bugs if they do come in contact with the dried spray.
Recommended Providers for Ladybug Control
Pest control is often best left to the professionals, especially if you’re uncertain how far your infestation extends. Ladybugs can hide in walls, crevices, and other small spaces simply too difficult to scope out on your own. We’ve analyzed the country’s best pest control companies that know how to get rid of ladybugs in your home or garden and keep them away. Terminix, Orkin, and Aptive provide comprehensive pest management services both to diagnose and treat your pest issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
As lovely as ladybugs are outdoors, you do not want them quickly reproducing in your home. Here is a collection of commonly asked questions about ladybug infestations and how to handle them quickly.
Why is my house full of ladybugs?
If you’ve suddenly noticed a cluster of ladybugs in the corners of your home, they may be setting up a colony for the colder months ahead. They may have come in with your plants, through windows, or cracks and openings throughout your home’s structure. Ladybugs reproduce quickly and in large numbers, so a few visitors may have turned into many in just a few weeks.
How do you kill ladybugs?
You can get rid of your ladybug population with either natural or chemical-based products. Use natural approaches like Diatomaceous Earth, soapy water, essential oils, or one of the popular store-bought pesticides that kill ladybugs by leaving layers of dried poison around their nests.
Is it bad to have ladybugs in your house?
An occasional ladybug in your home is not a huge cause for concern. They only become an issue when they multiply and set up colonies for the year. Though ladybugs cannot damage the structure of your home, you could end up with a large number of the bugs in little time if not properly managed.
What is the fastest way to get rid of ladybugs?
Grab your vacuum and gather up the nest of ladybugs if they are in an obvious area. Empty the vacuum bag outside away from your home so they can set up a new nest outside. Afterward, clean off the area where the ladybugs gathered to eliminate the scent trails left behind to attract more ladybugs. You can also take preventative measures like winterizing your home and planting mums around its perimeter to keep them from coming back.
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