The Beautiful Indoor Flower That Keeps Ladybugs Out Of Your House

The Beautiful Indoor Flower That Keeps Ladybugs Out Of Your House

Ladybugs, also known as lady beetles, are beneficial insects in gardens, but they can be a nuisance when they find their way into your home. During the fall months, ladybugs start looking for warmth and are attracted to the heat from your house. They tend to hibernate in groups, so if you spot one, there are likely several others.

North America has over 475 species of ladybugs that come in bright shades of red, orange, and yellow and have distinct black spots on their backs. However, some invasive species such as the Asian lady beetle can cause significant damage to your property. When stressed, they secrete yellow-colored blood with an unpleasant smell that can stain your furniture, walls, and floors. Worse still, they release pheromones to communicate with each other, which attracts more ladybugs and can lead to a full-blown infestation.

The good news is that there are ways to get rid of ladybugs inside the house. One natural option is to use mums. Ladybugs hate mums and will do their best to avoid them. That’s why mums are a popular choice for a natural pest repellant. 

Place mums by doorways and windows

Colorful mums by front door

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Mums are vibrant perennial flowers that contain a chemical that has a potent pest-repellant property called pyrethrins — it is a natural insecticide that messes with the nervous systems of pests and can sometimes kill them altogether. The ingredient is commonly used in insect repellants, lotions, and even shampoos that kill lice. In the case of ladybugs, the smell of the pyrethrins in mums confuses the insects, so they naturally try to stay away.

Because ladybugs tend to slip through any openings or cracks in homes, it is recommended to place mums by doorways and windows or place cut flowers in a vase inside. Surrounding your home with mums in the fall is ideal because that’s the usual time ladybugs start looking for a warm place to stay over winter. Although the strategy is a safer option compared to using chemical insecticides, it should be noted that mums are somewhat toxic to pets, so be careful where you place them.

Choose varieties that can survive into the winter months

Colorful mums

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Some hardy mum varieties can withstand very cold temperatures and last well into the winter, so they can be ideal for pest control. Varieties such as ‘Autumn Fire’ and ‘Burnt Copper’ do well in the cold, as well as ‘Maroon Pride’ and ‘Rose Blush.’ Your local garden store will have the best options for your region and climate. If you’re lucky enough to live in Hardiness Zones 4 to 9, your mums can survive year-round.

To make sure your mums last, they need up to 6 hours of direct sunlight and prefer well-drained soil. They come in earthy-colored varieties such as yellow and orange, which are perfect for late autumn, and also come in shades of pink, giving your front porch a pop of color in early winter. You can also follow tricks for planting your potted mums so they’ll come back each year.

Planting mums is a great way to naturally keep ladybugs out of your home. Other steps you can take include keeping the lights around your home off when you can and preventing heat from escaping your home by making sure the insulation is snug and sealing any gaps or cracks.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.