Invasive Harlequin ladybirds infected with the STD known as Laboulbeniales are pouring into UK homes prompting countless social media posts of the critters from concerned homeowners. .
Typically spotted bunched around windowsills, the invasive species of ladybird can not pass the disease they carry onto humans, but are a serious threat to native species of the winged beetle.
The 7-8mm beetle can also leave unsightly, light-coloured stains on furniture.
Here’s a guide on how to oust the red and black creatures from your home.
Winter-proof your home
First of all its important to put in place measures that will prevent ladybirds from infesting your home.
According to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) it is vital to “winter-proof” your home.
It says: “Properties that have regular problems with ladybirds entering the building, proofing of entry points will reduce future problems.”
This can be achieved by sealing gaps around windows and doorways in homes.
If you are already suffering with a Harlequin Ladybird infestation it could be necessary to dispose of them.
First of all its important to take action immediately as Harlequin are attracted to the smell of their fellow ladybirds
If small in number these can be rid of by simply using a sheet of paper and a glass.
Alternatively if large in number homeowners can vacuum the bugs up and empty the vacuum outside.
Insecticides labelled for beetles can also be applied to entry points to extinguish any invasion, however this can also affect the harmless native ladybird population.
The BPCA recommend hiring a professional if a ladybird infestation is “too heavy”.
“A trained professional will have the technical knowledge and access to a range of professional use products and equipment which are not available to the public.”
If your home has suffered a small infestation it may be necessary to cover up the smell of the pest with a herbal remedy.
Pest controllers Terminix recommend spraying citronella in areas which have previously been infested in order to deter future visits from the winged squatters.
Small bags of cloves, bay leaves or a combination of the two can be left in infested areas and scare off any unwanted residents, according to Terminix.