Indoor Ladybug Trap

If you are a ladybug fan, just close your browser now, go away, and don’t come back.   You might not realize what a pest the Ladybug is until she, and what seems like 300 of her friends, all come over to your house for a party.   That’s what happened in my home office (which is in my finished walk-up attic).

And it happens every year.  We have an Annual Ladybug Infestation Spring Break Party and it is not a pretty sight.  They swarm, they smell, and they love to crawl on Apple Cinema Display monitors too… but since I’m an iOS/Android/Web engineer, I have enough bugs to work with as it is – no joke.

So… as luck would have it, the Coccinellidae family of beetles are nearly impossible to get rid of when they are inside your house, especially if you don’t know the exact source of their nest.   I’ve never been able to find it.   And, its not like you are going to go and bomb the place with pesticide or anything.   Nevertheless, I can almost time their emergence in my home-office because all it seems to take is one warm day above 50 degrees – the first warm day of the year, and later that afternoon, out will come the ladybugs.

Coccinellidae_(Ladybug)_Anatomy.svg

Why the picture?  We’re going to focus on only a couple of three little parts of these little pests.  The head, the eyes, and their little legs.

The concept is simple:  attract the ladybug into a trap that they are generally unable to get out of, and do so without pesticides.

Here’s what I came up with to trap these little suckers:

  • An almost-empty bottle of Cupcake Pinot Grigio,
  • Some tap water, and,
  • An ultraviolet light.

Step 1:  Don’t waste it.  Drink the wine.   Why Cupcake?  Its cheap and my wife loves it.

Step 2:  Put in the tap water – about 1 cup worth.   Why a recently used wine bottle and not something else?  You could use a 2 liter soda bottle too (see below), but I prefer the wine over the soda on account of there being a small amount of trace alcohol content left to create a powerful aroma.  The soda bottle approach requires more manual effort.

Step 3:  Turn on the ultraviolet light in a portion of the room that won’t affect humans but is generally visible throughout the room.   You don’t want to affect your eyesight, but you do want to affect theirs.   I put mine behind a couch.

Step 4:  Dim the lights in the room, and shut the shades.   We’re going for a soft, mesmerizing effect with the ultraviolet light.  It needs to be the more dominant light in the room.

Step 5:  Sit back and wait.   Some will be drawn to the light, some the alcohol/sugar smell.

Step 6:  After you catch one or two ladybugs, make sure they go directly into the container.   Put them in it by hand if you need to, and shake around the water so they get “stuck” floating.  They will emit their nasty little smells and create an attractant for other ladybugs.   This is key, and probably the most important factor.   Ladybugs are social, and springtime is mating season.

Step 7:  Collect Ladybugs like crazy.   You will be surprised how many you can get.

 

For those people interested in the less-effective soda bottle approach instead of the wine-bottle – this is what you can expect to get – a lot of ladybugs “near” the trap but not inside.  Some inside, some outside.  The low-alcohol approach is much more effective (probably potent!) for these ladies:

photo_web

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