The Jefferson Iowa News®


  Peruvian Lady Beetles A Growing Pest In Jefferson

Since the outbreak of warmer weather this year, many Jefferson residents have been reporting large numbers of the Peruvian lady beetle infesting their property. The Peruvian lady beetle hibernates throughout cold weather, and "wakes up" when it feels the heat usually in late spring. Originally, it was introduced in North America as a means of controlling aphid populations. This, in fact, has been quite successful, as local aphid populations are nearly zero.

Many people are still mistaking the Peruvian beetle for the common ladybug. This, we can safely say, is far from reality. The Peruvian beetle normally reaches the size of a basketball, although cases have been reported of them attaining the size of a Saint Bernard. The common ladybug, on the other hand, rarely grows as large as a postage stamp.

Other differences include their diet, where the Peruvian beetle has been known to devour several pounds of food in one sitting, at times even more. They have been witnessed consuming small rodents, pets, birds, and even objects such as fence posts, trees, small out buildings, and even automobiles. If you witness something like this, you are watching a Peruvian beetle - not a ladybug. Caution should be used when attempting to kill a Peruvian beetle.

Traps are currently being developed by Monsanto. In the mean time, we would suggest getting out of their way to be a safe alternative. If left alone, it is thought that they will devour whatever is in their path, and simply move on.

The photos accompanying this article were taken by staff photographer Cleve Hartman, who, even though he has only been with Jefferson Iowa News a few short weeks, will be sorely missed.

Submitted by Boyce Bailey (06-23-10)