Have you seen swarms of ladybirds outside your house – on the walls or the washing line?
Well, if you believe some of the more sensational headlines it is an invasion of ‘alien bugs carrying sexually transmitted infections ( STI’s).
So let’s take a look at the facts about these bugs and any diseases they might be carrying!
Swarms of black ladybirds have appeared in the UK during the past few weeks. They are a species called Harmonia axyridis (Harlequin ladybirds).
What about the STI’s? Well, it is a fungal disease called Laboulbeniales which can cause yellow finger-like growths on ladybirds. It is NOT harmful to humans and cannot be passed on to us. It could be a problem for ladybirds as it can be passed on to our native species and their population is already declining.
So how do you get rid of them?
If they’re outside, just try and ignore them – they should be gone in a month or so! . If they’re inside your house, you should try and get rid of them because the give off a strong-smelling, yellow liquid that can stain furniture.
Some suggestions include sucking them up with a vacuum cleaner or sweeping them into a plastic bag if you can. The pheromones that they leave behind can attract other ladybirds, so it’s a good idea to thoroughly clean any surfaces where ladybirds might have been. Wiping the surfaces with white vinegar will help remove any staining that may have occurred.
Whatever you do – don’t panic. The headlines are usually far worse than the problem!
If you have a ladybird infestation and you need help, call PESTUK on 0800 026 0308 for the best advice on getting rid of ladybirds.