Lady Bugs Cause Allergies

Knoxville (WVLT) - It was a beautiful day to spend outside, warm and sunny.

But we know cooler temperatures are fast approaching.

That's when we retreat indoors.

Unfortunately, so do those ladybugs we see climbing the walls and ceilings of our homes.

If it makes you feel any better you're not alone.

Many people describe the very same thing in their homes, but not only are these ladybugs a nuisance; they can make some people sick.

It's an exotic ladybug species, known as the Asian Lady Beetle.

You probably don't remember them being a problem until recently when they were introduced in some eastern and southeastern states to control agricultural pests.

"Yes, the Asian Lady Beetle was originally released into the United States to control aphids, and now it's become a bit of a pest, getting into houses, especially when the weather turns cold in October," explains Dr. Elise Schriver, a pulmonologist at UT Medical Center.

And now entomologists are reporting a rapid increase in their numbers, giving rise to increasing complaints of home infestations.

They are particularly attracted to light surfaces and large windows.

And many people, mostly those who already suffer from allergies, are especially sensitive.

"People can have various types of allergic reactions, ranging from runny nose to swollen airways, or even asthma related to lady bugs," Dr. Schriver.

Until now, many people suffering these symptoms chalked them up to seasonal allergies.

But doctors say as many as 50 percent of people are allergic to these Asian Ladybugs.

Many sufferers report using extra allergy medications during times of infestation, but Doctor Schriver says to limit exposure is the best way to alleviate symptoms.

"In September, anything you can do to seal their house and keep them out is useful, caulking windows, sealing off cracks, putting weather stripping under doors helps to keep the lady beetles out of your house."

If you suffer from spring, fall and winter allergies, expect your doctor to ask you about ladybug infestation.

But even when it's suspected, there is currently no extract to treat it.

If these Asian Ladybugs have already infested your home, and it's too late to caulk windows and weather strip doors. You can try to vacuum them up yourself.

That does seem to work for some people.


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