Are you dealing with a ton of ladybugs swarming your porch?
In this complete guide, you’ll learn:
- What ladybugs are attracted to
- How to get rid of them from your deck or porch
- Ways to keep them away using natural repellents
- And more
Sound good? Let’s dive right in and go ladybug-free.
Last updated: 12/30/19.
Why are ladybugs on my porch?
The main thing that brings them to your porch is none other than food. If you have a lot of plants nearby that have small food sources on them, then ladybugs will swarm the area.
They eat other small bugs like aphids, ants, and spider mites.
Plants that house these pests will attract ladybugs naturally.
They may also be trying to find somewhere warm to stay. When it’s cold outside, they seek warmth, which is why you may sometimes find them in your home or camper.
Should I get rid of ladybugs?
Only if you definitely have a serious problem. Otherwise, let them be. They’re beneficial bugs to your garden and can help you control other pests.
But when they’re overpopulated or had too many babies hatch, you may have to help them reduce their numbers. Or maybe you plan to have people over and need to get rid of them.
Do they bite or carry diseases?
No. Ladybugs don’t bite humans or carry any known diseases. They’re harmless and considered a beneficial bug to have.
Will they harm my plants or home?
Nope. Ladybugs are harmless to your plants and don’t eat them.
They only focus on eating small bugs from your plants rather than the plant. They also don’t chew on wood, destroy the foundation, nor eat up your home’s infrastructure.
Many people actually think that ladybugs are a beneficial bug to hate because they help control other bugs’ populations.
The only thing you should watch out for the pheromone trails they leave behind.
When ladybugs are either scared or find a suitable place to live, they deposit a foul-scented, yellowish pigment that can attract or warn other ladybugs. This residue can stain your porch, home, walls, and deck.
So that’s something to watch out for. If you’re trying to get rid of them, you’ll have to remove this scent because other ladybugs will constantly fly to your home because of the smell.
We’ll cover how you can remove the pheromone scent.
Are they beneficial to have?
A you can see in this video, they clearly are a beneficial bug to have compared to other pests.
Yes, because they help control other bugs like aphids. They lay hundreds of eggs on your plants, which is why you see so many ladybugs out of nowhere.
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But one they hatch, they’ll eat colonies of other bugs that usually destroy your plants.
Because ladybugs only eat other pests, they’re often used for pest control. And they don’t bite, sting, transmit diseases, or eat your plants.
Is it bad to have ladybugs?
Only if you have too many. Maybe that’s why you’re here.
Sometimes their population gets auto for control and your porch may be swarmed with them. They’re also attracted to warm areas when the outdoors gets cold.
How to get rid of ladybugs on your porch naturally
Here are some ways you can help repel and control the ladybugs on your porch or deck.
Try a few of them out and see what works best for you. There is no “best way” that exists. For every situation, it’s different.
Vacuum them up
This is probably the easiest way to get rid of them.
Using a shop-vac or some other handheld vacuum cleaner allows you to suck them up from your porch and release them in another area.
The problem with this method is that it doesn’t really work outdoors because they can just come back.
You’ll have to get creative if you plan to use a vacuum. I’d only suggest this if you have a ton of ladybugs crawling all over your porch and you need to get rid of them quickly- for a guest or outdoor party or something.
Otherwise, vacuuming daily won’t really do much for you since you’re outdoors.
Make your own DIY repellent
You can make a simple ladybug repellent by using vinegar and citrus oil. Any kind of essential oil that contains citrus should work (orange, lemon, lime, etc.)
Just add a few drops of it to the vinegar, then add vinegar to a spray bottle. Spray the solution around your porch.
This will act as a natural deterrent to them. You’ll have to reapply weekly or after rain. Also, make sure the wood on your porch or deck doesn’t get damaged from the acidity.
If you have a lot of plants on your porch that you don’t really care for, consider removing them altogether. Since ladybugs mainly live on plants, this will drastically reduce their numbers.
Without the plants available, their natural environment is shocked and they also lose a food source (small bugs on the plants). If you really need to keep plants, consider changing them to something else that doesn’t attract ladybugs. Or add some plants that they hate (covered below).
Build ladybug traps
You can make some traps for them by using a bowl of dish soap and apple cider vinegar.
Add 1 part ACV to 3 parts water in a shallow bowl. Then place the bowl where the ladybugs are. You can make multiple bowls if needed and put them around your yard and deck.
The ladybugs will fall into the bowl and suffocate. Clean the bowl weekly and replace the vinegar and water as needed.
Attract natural predators
You can lure other bugs to your porch or deck to help control the ladybug population. There are many natural predators that eat them and can help limit the amount of them hanging around your home.
Of course, the right way to do this is to attract the pests that are already native to your area. In other words, don’t try to attract something that doesn’t belong in your state.
Do some research online and see which predator is native to your state. Then do some more research to see how you can attract more of them to eat the ladybugs or scare them off.
Here are some of the most popular and common bugs that eat ladybugs:
- Parasitic ants
- Tree frogs
- Anole lizards
- Assassin bugs
- Birds (swallows, swifts, crows)
You can also use carnivorous plants like venus flytraps and pitcher plants. Both of these plants can help kill ladybugs.
Remember that ladybugs have a chemical they release that helps repel other predators. So it’s not always easy to find out what will eat them and what won’t.
When they release this pheromone, other ladybugs in the area will also be alert, so they may leave in large droves.
Use essential oils
Some citrus essential oils are especially effective against ladybugs.
Oils like lemon, orange, lemongrass, and eucalyptus have been reported to work against ladybugs. Just add a few drops to a bottle of pure water.
Spray it on your deck and porch. The scent will remove their pheromone trail and also help keep them off your porch because they hate the smell of citrus.
Note that some sprays can be strong. So unless you don’t mind smelling it all day, you should either control the amount you spray or dilute with water.
Make a vinegar spray
Vinegar will kill ladybugs on contact. You can make your own pesticide at home by filling up a spray bottle with pure white vinegar.
You don’t need to dilute it unless your porch is painted with sensitive paint or you have other sensitive surfaces. Fill up a bottle and spray it directly onto the bugs.
They’ll die and you have to clean them up. If you don’t, other pests will be attracted to the dead ladybugs and you’ll have an even bigger pest problem (such as ants).
You can use a paper towel to wipe them up and dispose of them hygienically.
Be sure to wear gloves to protect yourself from their pheromones. It can be odorous.
Vinegar will also help clean up the pheromones ladybugs leave behind. The chemical trail they release attracts other ladybugs to your porch and home, which is contributing to the problem.
Using vinegar will help eliminate this pheromone scent so other ladybugs won’t keep coming back. They release this scent to let other ladybugs know that your porch is a “safe” location.
As long as the scent exists, more bugs may show up. This is why it’s important to get rid of their trail by using vinegar.
Make vinegar traps
You can also make vinegar traps to catch ladybugs passively. This means it’ll kill them without you having to be there to constantly monitor it.
The scent from the pool of vinegar will also help repel them from coming back to your porch.
Here’s how you can make it:
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of vinegar (pure white)
- A shallow bowl or dish
- A few drops of dish detergent
- 2-3 cups of water
How to make it:
Add the water to the bowl. Then add a few drops of dish soap. Stir gently. Add the vinegar to the bowl and stir again.
How to use it:
Place the dish or bowl on your porch. Use it where the bugs are hanging out. The vinegar will help repel and keep them away.
Any ladybugs that fall down into the bowl will drown and suffocate. So you’ll usually end up with a huge bowl of dead ladybugs. Dispose of it safely.
Dump out the contents and wash the bowl regularly to prevent bacteria and mold. Then make the trap again.
You can also make 2-3 traps or more and place them around your porch and yard. The more traps you place, the fewer ladybugs you’ll have to deal with.
How to keep them away from your porch
Keeping your yard and porch free from overgrown plants and other excess pests will keep ladybugs away.
As you probably know, they eat other small pests like aphids and spider mites. If you don’t provide them with these food sources, then they have nothing to eat.
And without food, there’s no reason for them to hang out around your porch.
This means keeping your porch, garden, and home free of food sources for them. You should tidy up and clean up your garden for starters.
Do the following to help reduce the chances of attracting ladybugs to your porch:
- Prune overgrown plants
- Remove dead plants
- Clean up leaf litter, grass clippings, or other foliage
- Dispose of any debris around your porch
- Seal up cracks and crevices on wood, foundation, or walls
- Fix any gaps or holes on your porch
- Clean up any debris under your porch
- Seal up crawl spaces
All of this should help reduce the number of ladybugs.
Use the various repellents we covered in this guide. Things like dish soap, vinegar traps, and essential oil traps may help repel and deter them from your home.
Reduce porch lighting
Ladybugs are attracted to light, which is why sometimes they’re found around your artificial outdoor lights.
When you wake up the next day and find a cluster of them hanging around your porch light, this may be because they were seeking out the warmth of the light overnight.
Whether the light is an LED or incandescent bulb doesn’t matter. If it’s a light, the bug will hover around it.
Especially if it provides some warmth for them when it’s cold outside.
Turn off your lights at night if they’re unnecessary. This means your porch lights, pathway lights, or other yard lights.
Change your plant choice
You can swap the plants you have in your garden to help keep ladybugs out. They’re attracted to most plants, especially ones that have a lot of small pests for them to eat.
But there are a few plants you can add to your garden that ladybugs hate.
Mums are a natural repellent to them, so plan them on your porch and around the garden.
You can even keep them indoors, but they won’t do too well. Mums act as a deterrent against ladybugs because of the chemical scent released from the plant.
Think of all the key locations you can add the plant:
- Around doors or entryways
- Next to patio entrances
- By your doggy door
- Or even right on your front porch
These plants are cheap and you can buy them when in season at most greeneries.
You can also buy seeds and grow them yourself, but it takes a long time. So you’re better off buying a potted mum if you’re in a hurry.
You can grow and place lemongrass around your porch as well, as they hate the scent of citrus or anything acidic (like vinegar).
Lemongrass is cheap and you can buy it in bulk to make multiple plants. Put them around your porch or deck.
Another good choice. Since orange trees aren’t really something that you can grow right away, you can just buy regular oranges and cut them open.
Use the peels or the actual fruit and place them around your deck. The scent and strong acidic contents help keep ladybugs away.
Cheap and available in bulk. Buy lemon and use the peels or flesh around your porch. You can also use lemon juice or squeeze your own lemons to make a spray.
Then spray it directly onto the ladybugs and your porch wood, bricks, or other material as long as it’s safe against acids. The scent leftover from the lemon spray will drive them nuts.
Use lime just like the lemon approach above. You can also make lime spray also.
This is a good choice because it’s large enough to make multiple peels from. You can peel a grapefruit, squeeze the juice to make ladybug repellent, and then also use the peels as deterrent “stations” on your porch.
All of these citrus scents will help keep them off your deck. The problem is that because they’re full of sugar, you may end up attracting other pests to your home.
This will get rid of ladybugs, but other bugs may surface. Counter-intuitive because the ladybug beetles will come back to eat the other smaller bugs.
So be sure to wash off your deck after you apply the spray. The key isn’t to keep the scent on there, it’s to clean up the pheromone trails they leave behind.
Spraying it will help clear their scent, but you need to wash it off with a hose to remove the citrus before it starts to attract other bugs to your deck. You can reapply as needed.
Did you get your porch free of ladybugs?
By now, you have everything you need to know to manage them on your deck or porch. Now go forth and reclaim your home!
If you have any questions, leave a comment below. Or if you found this to be helpful, let me know.
Tell a friend who may be having ladybug problems =]!
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.