How to Identify Ladybugs, Lady Beetles and Stink Bugs

It’s important to note that some insects are more harmful than others. Many are actually beneficial and assist in keeping the more harmful insects at bay. Ladybugs are a great example of beneficial insects.

Did you know there is an insect that closely resembles the ladybug that is not only  different visually, but also is different behaviorally? This ladybug look-alike is called the Asian Lady Beetle. These two species are easily confused with each other.

Ladybugs vs. Asian Lady Beetles

It’s common knowledge that ladybugs can be beneficial to home gardens as they voraciously snack on aphids and other harmful garden pests. Ladybugs are also typically non-aggressive and non-invasive to homes. 

On the other hand, lady beetles, while closely resembling ladybugs, are much different. These pests are known to infest homes. They don’t like to spend the winters outdoors and will seek shelter within the walls of homes once the fall weather approaches. They can also inflict a painful bite. These ladybug imposters leave behind a smelly secretion that can stain fabrics and exterior surfaces. Lady beetles can cause problems in your pets too, if they try to ingest them. If you’ve seen them around your home it’s a good idea to check your pet’s mouth to be sure there’s no sign of irritation.

Here are a couple key identifying traits of ladybugs

1 ) These insects tend to be a deep red color with black spots on the body. The spots are larger and not as close together as the spots on lady beetles. Their bodies and faces are also rounder rather than the slightly elongated face of the lady beetle. 

2 ) Ladybugs have white coloration on their heads toward the lower part of the face by the “cheeks”. This is the only white coloration they have on their black head. 

Some identifying marks on the lady beetles include:

1 ) Bodies colored with an orange or slightly off-red color. They will have smaller spots that are close together and the spots are more numerous than those of ladybugs. They also can have orange or reddish colored bodies with no black spots at all.

2) Lady beetles will have a telltale sign on their head that visually sets them apart from ladybugs. A distinctive “M” shape at the top of their heads is a key marking unique to lady beetles.

Although both can be beneficial to gardens, since they eat aphids and other destructive garden pests, the lady beetles have some pretty negative traits. These negatives make infestations of them particularly troublesome. 

The scoop on stink bugs 

Stink bugs are another pest that can infest homes inside and out. There are quite a few species of these stinkers and many colors. The most common type of stink bug in Virginia is the Brown Marmorated species. They get their name because of the veined or marbled look on their brown bodies. Like the lady beetle, these pests also emit an odor, hence their name. 

Stink bug bodies are shield shaped, and about as wide as they are long. They have pointy heads with small antennas. They fortunately do not bite, yet are invasive and can reach high numbers quickly. Like the lady beetle they will infest homes. 

Golden Rule: Don’t Squash Them!

If you’ve seen ladybug lookalikes or if you’ve seen stink bugs in or around your home, do not smash them as their secretions can cause allergic reactions. Plus, stink bugs do have a very unpleasant odor, which intensifies when smashed. You don’t want that stinking up your home!

These pests can be controlled but it often takes professional treatment. Pest Solutions knows how important it is to have safe and effective pest control options. We provide indoor pest control without the use of insecticides. If you’ve seen pests indoors or outdoors that are causing concern, give us a call (804) 406-9606.