Swarms of lady bugs are out in Iowa. Iowa State University entomologist Ken Holscher calls them lady beetles, not lady “bugs.”Holscher says “if you go by the true letter of entomological law” you reserve the term bug for members of a certain group that includes box elder bugs. But Holscher says he grew up calling them “lady bugs” and the name lady bug doesn’t really bother him that much. Holscher says the bugs now in Iowa are Asian Lady Beetles which were introduced in this country as a biological agent because they eat aphids.Holscher says the destructive soybean aphid population in Iowa was significant this year because of the hot, dry weather, and the Asian lady beetle population grew as well since it had all those aphids to feed on. With the soybean harvest underway, Holscher says the lady beetles are being chased out of those fields and have started looking for a warm place to spend the winter — and that’s why they’re trying to get into your home.Holscher says Asian lady beetles like to spend the winter in a house. Unlike the mosquito, which survives the winter as an egg, lady beetles — lady bugs — have to survive as an adult. Holscher says they go dormant, sort of hibernating like a bear, for example hiding behind the siding of your house. Some folks complain the swarms of still-active lady bugs are biting. Holscher says lady beetles are pinching you — not feeding on you like a mosquito does.
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