BATON ROUGE - The invasion of Asian Lady Beetles are on the rise. And even though they look exactly like them, it's not the 'ladybug' we know and love.
And now, the impostor beetles are causing a serious annoyance. Even though they are 'predator beetles', turns out they're relatively harmless, according to Dr. Chris Carlton, who's part of the Entomology Department at LSU.
"They're really a serious nuisance," Carlton said.
Dr. Carlton has known of the Asian Lady Beetle for decades. Today, he's helping answer questions about the critter that's got people talking.
"This particular species seems to prefer getting into people's houses," Carlton said.
The beetles gather by the hundreds before going into hibernation for the winter. Unfortunately, their place of hibernation can also happen to be your house.
Unlike it's docile relative, these lady-beetles can be aggressive and bite... but Dr. Carlton says it’s no reason to worry.
"They aren't biting to eat you, they aren't biting to suck your blood, but they are doing what I call probing." said Carlton.
In fact, these beetles won't break skin or inject anything toxic, they're only trying to find food. While there's no denying they are aggravating, the Asian Lady Beetles don't pose a threat to your health.
Over at East Baton Rouge Abatement, calls have been coming in from concerned residents, but officials over here say it’s not anything they can help with besides knowledge.
"The lady bugs are not transmitters of any disease, so they really aren't a public health concern for us," Randy Vaeth of EBR Abatement said.
Strangely enough, these beetles have ties to the state of Louisiana. They were first discovered here in the late 80's before spreading across North America and into Canada.
"When they became established in Louisiana that was an accidental introduction, and for whatever reason they have exploded across the landscape, and so now instead of beneficial insects they are considered a pest.” Carlton said.
Beneficial because the beetles feed on bugs that kill crops and plants, like ladybugs. However, the massive Asian Beetle presence is pushing the native ladybugs away and displacing them.
The beetles also have an odor they put off when either smashed or feel threatened.
Stories circulating the web, surrounding dogs and these beetles sticking to the roof of their mouths, are actually rarely going to happen.
And Dr. Carlton also shared the claims of a dogs being poisoned by the beetles are false. What can make a dog feel funny is the intense odor they put off, not anything toxic.
So although you can't call abatement to get rid of the pesky beetles, you can call your local commercial pest control service, or go a more natural route by spraying lemon oil around door frames, in cracks and crevices and around floorboards where they like to hide.