Ladybugs moved in? Use a vacuum to gather them and relocate them to a better hibernation location.
A few ladybugs on the sunny side of your house is a harbinger of good things for gardeners - these beetles are beneficial, as they consume other harmful insects like aphids, mealy bugs and scale.
When they congregate in droves and move in, then you might want to weigh some removal options.
This ladybug variety, known as a multi-colored Asian lady beetle, has been in the U.S. for more than a century and has become the more dominant variety in forests and gardens. And like the native ladybugs, they're the good guys.
Normally in fall, ladybugs congregate up in cliffs and rocky ledges where it's sunny and warm. There, they hibernate in groups throughout the winter.
Without cliffs and rocky ledges nearby, they might be eyeing your house instead. On a sunny, warm afternoon, you might see large numbers of ladybugs on the side of your home, or crawling into windows through small cracks and crevices.
And they will get in, as ladybugs need only an eighth of an inch opening to get into your house! Once inside, ladybugs just want to hibernate. Often, the beetles will climb up towards your ceiling or find other hiding spots.
If the ladybugs get really thirsty, they might come down searching for water. And yes, they might also bite you but that is rare.
Biting or not, if you're in the camp that would rather not have ladybugs hibernating in your home over the winter, you can serve them their eviction papers and get them to move out.
Take some precautions, though, and take care not to crush or irritate the beetles. Doing so causes a reflex in which they exude a yellow, bad-smelling liquid, meant to deter predators. This liquid can get on clothing, curtains or furniture and make a mess.
Instead, get out your vac! Put a new vacuum bag on your regular vacuum or wet/dry vac and suck them up into the bag. After that, be sure to take the vacuum bag off right away and bring it outdoors. Set the ladybugs free somewhere away from your home to hibernate. And note that if you leave the bag on your vacuum, the ladybugs will crawl out of any small space and find their way back into your house again.
Q: My rose bush is eight to 10 feet tall and started out as a climbing rose. It died out the first winter and a little bit came back the following summer. The first part that came up last spring appeared to be the climbing rose that blossomed but it didn't grow too tall. Then, it was overwhelmed by another rose that came up which I suspect is from the original root system. It grew straight up but never blossomed all summer. I'm wondering what to do with it and what kind of rose it could be? - Velma, in Richmond
A: It sounds like you have a grafted rose and it was the root stock that grew straight up and didn't flower.
In this case, the solution is straight-forward: cut back that growth coming from the root system. You can find out where to prune by taking a look at the whole rose bush itself. You'll see a bulge where the graft union is.
Anything that emerges from that stem below the graft union is the root system rose. Anything growing at the root graft or above it is the rose variety that you want to keep.
Later this fall, maybe early December, put some bark mulch or wood mulch around the base of the rose bush to protect it. And hopefully next spring, you'll see the rose bush that you want and it will flower again.
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