WINNIPEG – Ladybugs are usually thought of as one of the cuter insects, but there’s a new type emerging in Canada that has a bit more of a bite.
Health Canada says Asian lady beetles were brought to North America in the 1970s to control crop-eating insects.
But Winnipeg entomologist Taz Stuart tells CTV News that unlike ladybugs native to North American, the lady beetle has teeth.
According to Health Canada, Asian lady beetles do not transmit disease, and can range from mustard yellow to dark reddish orange with spots or no spots at all.
Asian lady beetles will also often have an M-shaped marking behind their heads.
Stuart says they’ll start building up around cracks, crevices, door frames and windowsills as temperatures begin to cool, and create a stench if they die in large numbers.
“They look like a ladybug, and at this time of year they’re coming in from the crops and the fields, and now looking for a place to stay over the winter and hibernate,” he says.
“Previous to 2016, you really wouldn’t see a lot of Asian lady beetles around here. But last year we had an increase: a good number of calls in the fall around Halloween, and people were concerned.”
The busy season prompted Stuart to dub them Halloween bugs.
A regular visitor to the Maple Grove Dog Park, Jessica Nikkel says she first came across the insects was when walking on a back trail recently with her pup Molly.
She had what felt like a black fly bite, but was surprised when she looked down.
“And sure enough I looked and it was ladybug,” Nikkel says.
If the bugs infest a home, Stuart says there’s a number of ways to deal with them, including vacuuming them up and throwing them out.