Ladybugs swarm southeast; residents in Moody say they're everywh - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Ladybugs swarm southeast; residents in Moody say they're everywhere

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One reason ladybugs might be swarming the Southeast, might be due to the approaching winter season according to Dr. Grant Gentry, Assistant Professor at Samford University. 

"You can have multiple species of ladybugs all piling into this pile. It helps keep them a little warmer. They have a fat reserve they have been building up all summer. If they can stay a little warmer, that will allow their fat reserve to last a little longer and longer," said Gentry. 

The large groups of ladybugs also allow them to remain safe from predators. They emit a foul odor that can protect them from predators. 
Ladybugs are harmless and typically feed on Aphids, which are known to suck the juices out of plants. 

"An aphid has a little straw like mouth part.  It taps into this vessel. It sucks out some of this juice. Just a little bit.  But there are thousands of them...that little bit turns into a whole lot.  It can basically damage your plants and damage your harvest," said Gentry. 

In addition to the ladybugs, people have also reported seeing Kudzu bugs around town as well. 

The population is exploding because they aren't native to the United States nor do they have any predators to keep their growing numbers under control. 
"They were brought over to control Kudzu because its just grown nuts. It can basically grow over an entire forest, choke off all the light, and soon all of the trees die and all you have is this big life of Kudzu," explained Gentry.   

American Pest Control's General Manager, Jeff Phillips, said he's received calls from homeowners wanting to know how to get rid of both ladybugs and kudzu bugs.  Phillips said they are flying insects so options are limited. 

"The general key to most pest control is exclusion. Just try to simply keep the pest out. That does a couple of things.  Number one, it keeps them out of the house of course.  Number two, it minimizes the amount of pesticides being used in the home and in the living areas," said Phillips. 


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