Lady Bugs in Blue Ridge, GA Cabins
Beautiful Blue Ridge in the North Georgia mountains is a favorite place among many to come and experience mountain life in a small town where the vibe is warm and friendly. Many log cabins and luxury lodges dot the Blue Ridge mountain landscape offering stunning Appalachian mountain views. As perfect a place as we think Blue Ridge, GA is, there is a little bad that we have to endure...and that is ladybugs in cabins.
As innocent and charming as the word connotes, the actual insect is not! During the warm spring and summer months, they are beneficial insects, but during the cooler months, they are the bane of the locals who live here, homeowners who have rental cabins here, and the guests whom we host.
Indoor Insects Have Nothing to do with a Cabin's Cleanliness
As a luxury cabin rental provider, we tirelessly work to prepare each cabin for our guests upon their check in...which includes warming up the cabin on cold days/cooling down the cabin on warm days, turning on all lights, tuning in some cool jazz music, turning up the hot tub....and when in season, vacuuming up all the ladybugs.
And no matter when we vacuum up the bugs, less than 15 minutes later, more have congregated. Someone needs to invent a robot that can regularly detect ladybugs and vacuum them up! But all this to say: the sight of ladybugs or any other insects does not mean the cabin is not clean.
Ladybugs inside a house have nothing to do with its cleanliness. It is a fact of life in the North Georgia mountains.
Ladybugs Like our Luxury Cabins, Too
For those homeowners with significant ladybug populations, the battle against infestation is a never-ending yearly chore that doesn’t have a satisfying solution. Ladybug infestations are not dangerous, they do not bite, they do not multiply - they have just found a way inside a warm cozy cabin in which to hibernate (in masses) as the days cool down in autumn.
Ladybug flights are heaviest on warm sunny days after a period of cooler weather. Most flight activity occurs in the afternoon and can vary in intensity from one day to the next.
When a ladybugs find a suitable spot in the fall, they produce a pheromone attracting other ladybugs to come join the party. That's why it's common to find hundreds of them at a time. During the cold months they hibernate in masses. Once that pheromone is released, it will attract ladybugs to the same site year after year.
They love south and west facing walls of a cabin where the warm sunshine keeps them comfortable. They’re also attracted to warm, south-facing rooms. Chances are each fall, ladybugs will find their way to the light-colored walls on the south side of your home. Ladybugs come into a cabin through cracks and crevices around windows, doorways, outlets, eaves, pipes, etc. You'll most likely see them on window sills, white bath tubs, ceiling lights, and other warm overwintering sites inside.
In an effort to winterize a home, using foaming sealants to close up drafty crevices around windows and doors will keep them out, plus lower utility bills year-round. Once inside, ladybugs are attracted to light colors, including the color white . They’re also attracted to warm, south-facing rooms. Chances are each fall, ladybugs will find their way to the light-colored walls on the south side of your home.
Tips to Control Ladybugs…Hopefully
So....just go with the flow. Unfortunately, there are no effective ways with pest control to handle ladybug infestations, except to constantly vacuum them. Once they get in, it's nearly impossible to get rid of them until springtime when they naturally head back outdoors. On warm winter days, you will see them in the cabin trying to find their way out since they think spring has arrived.
If you feel you must do something besides vacuuming, prepare a natural repellent comprised of citronella and citrus oil along with some cloves and bay leaves and put in a spray bottle. Spray the crevices around windows and doors where you think a ladybug's pheromones were released, and then hope for good luck! Also, diatomaceous earth has been known to help a little when sprinkled around windows and doors.
In addition, planting mums around near windows and entrance ways has been known to be a deterrent as ladybugs do not like them. If this doesn't work, then your vacuum cleaner or a hand vac will become your best friend during the cooler months of the year...giving us just another good reason to welcome springtime!
History of the Asian Lady Beetle
The backstory - These ladybugs that overwinter in our cabins are not native species. During the 1960-1990s, Asian beetles were released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an attempt to control agricultural pests, especially of pecans and apples. This ladybug release has proven effective for agriculture in that they eat aphids as their main course. Large numbers of the beetles were released in several states including Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland.
Why are stink bugs in my cabin?
Just like ladybugs, North Georgia has another frequent visitor into our cabins during the cool months, and that is the stink bug. They try to find a nice warm place to overwinter. They are not harmful, they do not bite, and they do not multiply. They are just an annoyance, and can be quite frightening to those who are not familiar with them.
Stink bugs, like ladybugs, cannot be controlled by pest control. We just grab them in a paper towel and release them outside...or smash them (if you dare) before flushing down the toilet. Or you can prepare a small bowl of soapy water near a light at night and they'll find their way into the bowl.
Speaking of their attraction to lights at night...whatever you do - don't lay in bed with the lights off and be on your phone. Be sure to have a lamp on.