MAHONING VALLEY Homeowners bugged out on the beetles

The beetles were imported to the United States to control aphids that were attacking pecan trees.
CANFIELD -- It conjures images of a bad 1960s horror movie.
You look out your window or open your front door to enjoy the fall foliage and instead see a swarm of small round bugs trying to get in.
Once inside, they buzz around your house, sometimes dive-bombing into your drink or getting tangled in your hair.
The multicolored insects are ladybugs, looking for a place to stay warm through the winter.
"They're not the native ladybugs we're used to," said Dave Goerig, extension agent at the Ohio State University Mahoning County Extension Service.
Imports: The bugs that descend on our windows and into our homes each fall are an Asian import, brought to the United States many years ago to control pecan aphids. Ladybugs feed on aphids and other insects that destroy plants.
The bugs range in color from medium brown to light brown, golden or yellow, some with black spots and some without. The species native to Ohio is red.
"They were found in mountainous regions in Asia, and they went in the cruxes and crevices of the mountains to keep warm," Goerig said. "When they look at our houses, they see big rocks."
The bugs, which travel in masses, enter through any crack or small opening, in search of warmth. Once inside they may head for a light fixture, get too close to the bulb and go to that big bug zapper in the sky.
Tom Harrison, specialist in charge of the plant-pest control section at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said the problem is especially bad in southern and southeastern Ohio.
"In my opinion, it's the No. 1 pest," Harrison said.
Some people report removing buckets half-full with the pests daily from their homes.
"It's horrendous what some people are dealing with," Harrison said.
It's been a problem for about five years in rural, wooded areas but has recently moved into areas that grow corn and soybeans.
Helpful to plants: Ladybugs are a predator insect, which means they eat other bugs that may be harmful to plants. They emit an odor when squished and although they may bite, unlike mosquitoes, they don't inject anything into their victims.
Ladybugs don't eat clothing. "That's a myth," Goerig said.
But Harrison considers them more than just a nuisance.
"For some people it's so bad, they can't enjoy their home," he said. "I would say that's harmful."
Prevention: To prevent them from making themselves at home in your house, Goerig suggests going over your house, caulking cracks and areas where they may be getting in.
People who want to remove the scourge from their homes without killing the colorful critters may use a a piece of nylon stocking in the tube attachment of their vacuum cleaner and suck the bugs into the stocking. They can then take them outside and set them free.
A spokesman for Berk Exterminating Co. in Warren said people may opt for a spray, available at home improvement stores, to put around doors, windows and roof vents. Spraying around those areas in the fall and spring eliminates 70 percent to 80 percent of the bugs.