Invasion of the black ladybirds hits UK. the Harlequin ladybirds, which have an easily recognisable black shell (although some are yellow or red) are flying here from Asia and North America on the mild autumn winds.
The species is believed to pass on a disease through sex to our native ladybird population.
Tim Sexton, assistant manager at Attenborough Nature Reserve , said: “These lady birds do carry an illness that can be passed on from sex but also from when they gather to huddle together in winter.
“They come in to our homes in winter because they are looking for somewhere dry and warm.
“Their favourite spot is a window sill where they release pheromones to attract others.
“I can understand that it can be quite frightening for people to see swarms of them, my advice is to use a dustpan and brush and put them outside then clean the area to get rid of the pheromones otherwise they will just come back.”
According to Mr Sexton the ladybirds from Asia arrived in the UK for the first time in 2004 and were sighted in Nottingham in 2006.
They are the fastest growing invasive species ever encountered in the country and will sometimes prey on the larvae of smaller native species, even beginning to outnumber them.
They also carry a disease called Laboulbeniales, a funghus which causes yellow finger-like growths which according to the UK Ladybird Survey could affect the lifespan or the number of eggs a female can produce.
It cannot be passed on to humans.
Sexton added that large swarms of these animals are often spotted in the last few warm weeks of autumn as they search for somewhere to spend the winter.