The Lady Bug has historically been the one bug your mother was willing to pick up and put in her hand to show how cute Mother Nature really is. Unfortunately, my motto is that all good things must come to end and this is now the end of trusting your mother.

There is now a species that has invaded Upstate New York (including the Utica-Rome and Mohawk Valley area) and the bug looks just like the classic Lady Bug. Sadly, it's not the cute harmless Lady Bug - it's actually an invasive bug that will destroy your garden and might even bite you.

According to Better Homes and Garden, the bug that looks like the Lady Bug is actually the Asian Lady Beetle and it's completely foul.

According to BHG, To tell the difference between an Asian lady beetle and a ladybug, look at the spot where the head meets the wings. If the bug has a small white 'M' marking in that spot, that's a telltale sign you're dealing with an invasive species. They also have larger white "cheek" markings and have more white on their heads overall. Their shell color can range from light orange to bright red, so most will have a similar color to a ladybug.

A Lady Beetle found in Utica, NY. April 10, 2021.  Photo by Bill Keeler / TSM

Asian lady beetles are known to sneak into your home through cracks or holes when it gets cold outside and congregate on siding, doors, and windows. They're more aggressive than ladybugs and bite by scraping the skin they land on. If they feel threatened, they'll excrete a foul-smelling yellow liquid from their legs that can stain surfaces and trigger allergic reactions, according to BHG.

The bug can also cause harm to your pets, including dogs especially if they try to eat them.

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The bugs, unlike actual Lady Bugs, will try to get in through cracks in window screens and gaps in your insulation and they will definitely try to get in during colder weather. If they do get into your home, it's suggested that you vacuum them up and immediately empty the bag or vacuum in an outdoor garbage.

There's a natural way to drive the pests away. BHG suggests you try to bring actual Lady Bugs into your garden areas. The old fashioned Lady Bugs will drive the Asian pests of your property.

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