Ladybugs Swarming South in 'Perfect Insect Storm' of Weather, Food

Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 06:59 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Ladybugs are swarming in parts of the Tennessee Valley and other areas of the South where residents are experiencing ballooning populations of the delicate little beetle known for its signature black-spotted red shell. One expert called it a "perfect insect storm" of weather and food supply.

The brightly colored little beetle is known to swarm in parts of the South every year during the fall months, however this year's ladybug accumulation is larger than normal entomologist David Cook of the Davidson County Extension Service told WTVF News Channel 5 in Nashville, Tenn.

Cook attributes the surge in the local ladybug population to the region's weather conditions this year.

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"We have perfect weather conditions, and a large food population," Cook told WTVF. "This is a perfect insect storm."

"One reason I think we may be seeing more of them is that this summer was so cool and we had a lot more rain," Harvey Cotten of Huntsville Botanical Gardens added in an interview about the ladybug surge with 48 News Waff.com. "We had a lot more foliage growing and we had a lot more bugs like aphids and other insects out there. They were the food source of these ladybugs and so they bred more," said Harvey Cotten of Huntsville Botanical Gardens."

According to Cook, the Asian Lady Beetles, as they are officially called, are swarming in an attempt to seek warmth and shelter as the cold winter months approach. Though not harmful to humans, except for potentially being a nuisance due to their numbers, Cook told WTVF that the ladybugs do omit a strange odor and are generally attracted to light structures.

"It will get worse before it gets better," Cook added. "We will need a couple of good, hard freezes to get rid of them."

One of those residents whose home has been inundated with ladybugs is Diane Stroud.

"There were probably one million of them," Stroud told WTVF referring to the ladybugs that have congregated around her home. "They were all over the porch, the far side of the house, everything was covered."

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"We were just sitting at home and noticed a few outside. We went out to look and there were tons flying around. We were really shocked," Stroud added.

Large ladybug accumulations are also being reported in parts of the Midwest and Northeast, as well as in Canada, according to WTVF.

Related stories:

72,000 Ladybugs Inside Mall of America Are Green Pesticide

17-Year Cicadas: Insects Emerging From Hibernation on East Coast

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