STD-carrying ladybirds are back and invading our homes.
STD-carrying ladybirds have been reported in their masses as experts are warning Brits to shut their windows.
As a result of the so-called ‘invasion’ of Harlequin ladybirds your furniture and Christmas party season could be at risk.
The black-winged bugs are from Asia and North America and fly over on the mild Autumn winds Birmingham Live reports.
They pose a threat to our native ladybirds because they carry an STD called Laboulbeniales.
Scientists say the fungus, which is passed on through mating, will infect our native species which are already under threat from habitat loss.
One homeowner said: “They are all over the front of my house and some have got inside they are everywhere.”
Experts suggest the best method most humane way to remove them from your home is with a glass and a piece of card.
The bugs carry a chemical that, if it touches a surface, could ruin furniture.
So it’s probably best not to crush them.
Scientists have dubbed the animal Britain’s most invasive species, as it preys on seven native ladybirds – including the common two-spot.
Experts say the foreign invaders actually pose a threat to the domestic species because they carry a sexually-transmitted disease called Laboulbeniales fungal disease.
Steve McGrail, director of pest control company Pro Kill Environment, said Harlequin ladybirds are not harmful to humans but recommended sealing windows to make sure they do not get in homes.
Scientists say a fungus the creatures carry, which is passed on through mating, will infect our native species which are already under threat from habitat loss.
While they do not yet know if the fungus is harmful, the UK Ladybird Survey says it is possible the disease affects the lifespan or the number of eggs a female can produce over her lifespan.
Do the ladybirds carry STDs?
Yes – but not in the way you might think. The ladybirds carry a disease called Laboulbeniales which is a form of fungus.
It isn’t known exactly what effect it has on the bugs but it causes yellow finger-like growths.
Scientists say the fungus, which is passed on through mating, will infect our native species, which are already under threat from habitat loss.
While they don’t yet know if the fungus is harmful, the UK Ladybird Survey says it is possible that the disease affects the lifespan or the number of eggs a female can produce over her lifespan.
Laboulbeniales can also occur in other bugs but is a common infection for ladybirds.
It is spread through close contact during mating and can also be passed on if the bugs huddle close together.
Can humans catch the STDs?
No – the disease can’t be passed on to humans. Laboulbeniales is also not harmful to humans.
Why is it a threat, then?
Harlequin ladybirds carrying the disease could greatly affect our native bugs by passing on the fungus.
And, as the population of the insects is already dwindling, it could lead to the numbers falling even more.
It isn’t known exactly how it will affect them but it could be dangerous to their health.
The bugs can also leave behind a nasty chemical smell in the home. They can also crawl over your furniture, leaving unsightly stains.
Why are there so many ladybirds this year?
Swarms of the insects have come from overseas and have been spotted in big groups in homes, gardens and out and about.
They are mainly migrating from Asia and North America.
Where did they come from?
Most Harlequins come from Asia but they are also migrating from North America.
Although the species has been in the UK since 2004, the population has recently grown and has become more noticeable.
When did they arrive in the UK?
It was first introduced to the USA in 1916 and has rapidly invaded parts of Canada, most of Europe, and a few South American and Southern and North African countries.
The harlequin ladybird arrived in the UK in 2004. It was first introduced in Essex, and has since made its way as far as Cornwall and the Shetland Islands.
Since being introduced to Russia in 2010, it has expanded its range southwards by 186 miles a year.
Are black ladybirds poisonous?
No, black ladybirds aren’t poisonous to humans or pets. They are just another colour from the same species.
Do ladybirds bite?
They could do. According to experts, if hungry, the bugs could bite humans.
When hungry, Harlequin ladybirds will bite humans in their search for something edible.
Ladybirds in houses, woken from dormancy by central heating, may bite people as there is no food available.
The bites usually produce a small bump and sting slightly.
However, there are few documented cases of people having a severe allergic reaction to harlequin ladybirds.