How Do I Get Rid of Asian Lady Beetles in My RV Camper?

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Ladybugs might seem like cute, lovable red and black creatures. And they are. But what about when their doppelgangers, Asian lady beetles, swarm in? They’ll leave you searching endlessly for “How to get rid of Asian beetles?”

Asian lady beetles look much like ladybugs, but they behave much differently. They swarm in, infesting by the hundreds, making a nuisance of themselves.

The good news is you can deal with them. Read on as we explain how to tell the difference between the cute little ladybug and the notorious Asian lady beetle, and offer solutions for how to get rid of them.

The Asian Lady Beetle Control Guide

What’s the Difference Between Asian Lady Beetles and Ladybugs?

Asian lady beetles and ladybugs look almost identical, but they behave extremely differently.

Common ladybugs are round and bright red with black spots. Asian lady beetles are slightly larger and more oblong. They can be orange or red with black spots (although some have no spots). The easiest way to tell them apart is that Asian lady beetles have a distinctive black marking on their foreheads that looks like an M or W.

Ladybugs travel in small numbers, don’t bite, and eat destructive pests such as aphids. Conversely, Asian lady beetles gather en masse, particularly on reflective surfaces like RV windows. They bite and leave a putrid, yellow liquid where they gather.

Like ladybugs, Asian lady beetles also eat aphids and some other destructive insects, so they at least have that redeeming characteristic.

A diagram showing the difference in markings and color between Asian lady beetles and lady bugs.

How Did the Asian Lady Beetle Get to the U.S.?

The Asian lady beetle was initially introduced to the United States in the early 1900s to help control the population of insects, such as aphids, that were harmful to crops.

U.S. citizens didn’t see the Asian lady beetle in large numbers until the 1980s, when a significant population amassed in New Orleans. This led some scientists to believe that a new import of Asian lady beetles arrived on cargo ships.

Are Asian Lady Beetles Harmful to Humans?

While Asian lady beetles can be a nuisance, they’re not truly harmful to humans. Yes, they bite, gather in significant numbers, and leave a stinky, yellow residue on surfaces, which makes them a nuisance for sure. But they’re not poisonous and don’t carry diseases. So, they’re not truly harmful. 

Pro Tip: Learn how to keep bees and wasps out of your RV →

Are Asian Lady Beetles Harmful to Pets?

As the Asian lady beetle population in the United States has grown, rumormongering abounded about how dangerous they might be. We already pointed out that they’re not hazardous to humans, but what about your pets?

In most cases, your pets will be fine. Veterinarians have stated that ingesting a large number of Asian lady beetles could be harmful to a dog, cat, or another animal. But that’s very uncommon.

One of the worst cases reported was a dog with several Asian lady beetles embedded in its mouth for a prolonged period, which caused extreme irritation. Minor treatment resolved the issue, and there were no lasting effects. 

So even when a pet encounters Asian lady beetles in large numbers, instances such as this are treatable by a veterinarian. 

How Do You Get Rid of Asian Lady Beetles?

Asian lady beetles aren’t dangerous, but they can be a major nuisance when you encounter hundreds or even thousands of them at one time. So let’s talk about some ways to get rid of them.

First, let’s talk about a couple of DO NOTS. Do not smash them, and do not try to sweep them up. They leave behind a foul-smelling, yellow liquid. It’s just gross.

Did You Know? You can keep your RV carpets fresh with these steam cleaning tips→

If you’re stationary for any amount of time, it’s best to first control the beetles outside before ridding them of the inside. Some sprays and foggers can help eliminate them outside before you start your indoor clean-up.

Another good thing to remember is that their smell attracts more beetles. So no matter how you rid yourself of Asian lady beetles, don’t dispose of them near your rig, and do clean the interior so that there’s no lingering odor left behind.

A asian lady beetle on a screen in an RV

Vacuum

One of the best ways to get rid of Asian beetles indoors is a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum them up as soon as you see two or three of the little critters. Empty the vacuum bag or canister in an outdoor trash can so they don’t crawl back out or die in the bag and stink up the RV—the further away from your RV, the better.

Light Trap 

Another way to help control Asian lady beetles outdoors is a light trap or bug zapper. The light in these contraptions attracts the lady beetles. Then, the device zaps or electrocutes them, stopping them from getting inside your rig. 

You’ll need to empty your light traps every so often, depending on how many beetles it catches. And as a reminder, don’t use these zappers inside your rig.

Dish Soap and Water

If you want to know how to get rid of Asian beetles using a simple, all-natural method, just grab some soap and water. This mixture in a spray bottle is an effective attack on these beetles without using a zapper or chemicals. This can kill many of them and deter others with the soap smell. 

Citronella or Citrus Oil

Asian lady beetles are not attracted to citronella or citrus oil. In fact, using citronella or citrus oil in your RV can drive them away, whether it be via candles or a spray. Along these same lines, the scent of mint, bay leaves, and cloves may repel lady beetles.

Patience

If one of the other techniques or a combination of them doesn’t solve your problem, you may simply have to wait them out. This is definitely not the optimum choice, but, thankfully, Asian lady beetles are seasonal. They’re primarily active in the warm months of spring and fall.

They don’t migrate, but they become inactive, so you can try and eliminate them while they’re inactive. The best long term solution is to get rid of them at the first sign.

A single asian beetle crawls across a surface in an RV

Answered: How to Get Rid of Asian Beetles 

Knowing how to get rid of Asian beetles in your camper can improve your camping experience. While these bugs have their benefits, like getting rid of other pests that damage crops, they’re a major nuisance when they invade your home. It doesn’t matter if that’s a sticks-and-bricks home or the kind on wheels.

Luckily, RVs are meant to be on the move. So if you have trouble getting rid of Asian beetles, often, moving away from wherever they found you will eventually kill them. But if you follow our advice, they should be manageable no matter where you are, and you should be rid of those pesky little critters sooner rather than later.

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  1. We RV full-time. Our RV got invested with the Asian beetles while we were up north last fall. At one time the sunny side of the RV actually looked a different color there were so many on it.
    We have been killing several a day ever since then. Since we are now in the south and it is warm, THEY ARE HAVING BABIES! We have tiny little ones smaller than the head of a needle.
    I’m going to light some citronella candles today to see if that helps.

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