Swarms of ladybirds reported at homes around Sheffield, as pest controller gives advice

Harlequin ladybirds, a non-native species orignating from Asia, have been looking for a spot to overwinter as the weather turns colder

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Swarms of ladybirds have been reported at homes around Sheffield as the weather turns.

A pest controller told The Star how he had received numerous calls about harlequin ladybirds, a non-native species originating from Asia, at homes across the city over the last week or so.

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Steve Quick, of Quick Pest Management, said: "The warmer spell we just had triggered these ladybirds to start looking for somewhere to overwinter. They will congregate in quite large numbers and people have told me how they have them all over their houses and don't want them there.

"But the ladybirds don't cause any harm to people or their houses, they can just be a bit unsightly. They'll get into lofts, under fascia boards or in the corners of windows - anywhere where there's a little corner for them to overwinter.

"When people call me about ladybirds I try to tell them just to leave them alone or if they want to get rid of them to brush them away and they will find somewhere else to settle."

'Hundreds' of ladybirds spotted at some homes, as people complain about 'horrible smell'

A group of ladybirds is known as a 'loveliness' - though it seems not everyone in Sheffield agrees with the term, at least not when the insects are in their own house.

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One person told how they had left their window open for their day, only to find their room 'invaded' by the flying beetles, while another person said she and her dog were 'assaulted' by a swarm of ladybirds when they went for a walk down Moss Valley.

A third person described how they had 'hundreds' of ladybirds on the walls of their house, while another person said they got into the window rims and backs of curtains. Some people complained that they leave 'a horrible smell', but Mr Quick said he did not find the odour that offensive.

All species of ladybird in the UK hibernate over winter, going dormant in what is technically called a diapause, before emerging in the spring.

It's not just ladybirds which have been getting people in a flap with the change of the seasons.

Tiny white flies and spider mating season

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Lots of people have reported seeing hundreds of tiny white flies all over the place. These are believed to be whitefly, a relative of the aphid which are harmless to people but can be a pest in the garden, feeding off the underside of leaves, especially on cabbages and other types of brassicas.

And the colder, wetter weather has also ushered in spider mating season, when male spiders come into houses looking for a partner.

Mr Quick said spiders were also generally nothing to worry about in the UK, saying that if they bother you then you can just use a glass and a bit of cardboard to catch them and release them outside.

He said pest controllers were facing a 'massive learning curve' as climate change continues to alter the behaviour of many insects and other species. But he added that it was important not to overuse pesticides due to the damage they can cause to the environment.

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