Students complain as Asian ladybugs infest buildings

Tavia Green

As in the film “Fried Green Tomatoes,” a lady always knows when to leave. But that may not hold true for the ladybugs infesting the Hill.

Some campus residents have been dealing with the hard-shelled red insects creeping through their windows and gathering in their rooms.

With the drop and rise in temperature, the ladybugs have been looking for a place to hide from the elements. Small congregations of ladybugs are flying into rooms and resting on ceilings, windows, and light fixtures in dorms and campus buildings.

Residents of Pearce-Ford Tower have been dealing with them.

“When I shake my bedspread at least four of five fall out,” Louisville junior Melinda Wade said.

And the story is the same at the other end of the Hill.

“My roommate killed at least six or seven one night,” said Bardstown freshman Ashley Price, a Rodes-Harlin Hall resident. “I think they are disgusting, and I just want to get rid of them. I hate bugs.”

Price said she put in a maintenance request and had her windows sprayed.

There have been fewer ladybugs since then, she said.

Lee Eliaf, an Orkin Pest Control employee, said that with the spell of cold weather and the rain recently, the ladybugs are looking for shelter because their usual homes cannot be inhabited.

Eliaf’s offered advice on how to remedy the unladylike dilemma.

“Vacuum often and spray inside,” Eliaf said.

Keith Philips, assistant biology professor, said the Asian ladybug beetle is an introduced species to this region brought over to protect plants from harmful insects.

“If you squeeze them or harass ladybugs, they secrete a yellow fluid that stains,” Philips said. “It is bad tasting and is a defense against insects that try to eat them.”

The Hill isn’t the only place dealing with ladybugs – it is a regional problem.

And while many of the bugs are dying, it may be a while before they’re gone.

“Some will die before winter, some will die during winter,” Philips said “They find cracks and crevices to stay for winter. They love nice and warm places.”

Reach Tavia Green at [email protected]