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Asian Lady Beetle invades Central Texas

What may look like a common ladybug could actually be an Asian Lady Beetle Bug. (Image courtesy: Texas Parks and Wildlife)

What may look like a common ladybug could actually be an Asian Lady Beetle.

University of Texas entomologist Dr. Alex Wild said after a cold snap like we had last week, the Asian Lady Beetles realize winter is coming and start to seek shelter in your home.

"Just yesterday, my business partner was complaining there were several in his car," said Cooper Anderson.

Anderson is the head winemaker for The Austin Winery off 290, but before he was barreling Merlot he was the son of a Virginia-based tobacco farmer. He said growing up, he would see "lines of (Asian Lady Beetles) pouring out" of vents. He father explained the foreign beetle was brought in from the east to help control aphids from eating crops.

Dr. Wild said for years, Asian Lady Beetles were introduced to farms and greenhouses but they would never "catch on" until the early 90s when they started "exploding across the United States."

"These are mostly nuisance insects," said Wild. "The main danger is one you don't really see. They're out there in large numbers, they're not from here, they're eating a lot of our native insects in ways that would have unpredictable effects in terms of pest control."

Unlike a traditional ladybug, the Asian Lady Beetle does bite but they're not injecting anything so Wild describes the bit as a pinch.

"They have a habit of tasting things they land on," said Wild.

The Ladybug look-a-likes are likely to see warmth from the winter outside your home or business. Wild says once they're inside they could stain surfaces and leave a musky smell.

Expect the Asian Beetle to hang in large numbers through the winter and until the warmth of summer when they'll spread back out.

While said one of the best ways to collect them is by vacuum.

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