"Most people just want to stomp them when they see so many of them come inside," said Tedders, who worked with ladybugs, or Asian lady beetles, for 35 years at the USDA Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Ga.
But he and many others urge people not to kill the beneficial insects but to trap them and release them outdoors.
Lady Beetle Trap
Though retired, Tedders hasn't stopped working with the insects. His latest project is a lady beetle trap. His company, H&T Alternative Controls in Perry, Ga., began selling the traps two years ago.
"The trap is two black light lamps mounted over a bucket with a metal backboard attached," Tedders said. "The lady beetles are attracted to the black light. They fly to it, land on the metal backboard and fall into the bucket."
The backboard is coated with talcum powder, which makes the bugs slide down into the bucket.
Use Trap Indoors
The trap is designed for use indoors and wouldn't be effective outdoors.
"When the temperature drops below 70, they stop flying," he said. "And I don't know of many nights lately that we've had temperatures above 70 degrees."
Tedders' trap is designed to be used indoors, where the temperature is at least 70. "You just set it in the middle of the room where the lady beetles are, turn on the lamps and go to sleep," he said. "In the morning, you can just take them outside."
The trap makes it easier to remove large numbers of ladybugs from homes or buildings without killing them.
"If people only knew how beneficial lady beetles are, they wouldn't even think about killing them," he said. "There's just no telling how much money they've saved the Georgia pecan industry."
(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)