Ladybugs, boxelder bugs and others that want to live in your house

Multicolored Asian ladybeetles search for places to spend the winter and often congregate in protected places.

Multicolored Asian ladybeetles search for places to spend the winter and often congregate in protected places. Photo: Linda Williams, WI DNR

This fall, some areas of the state saw large numbers of ladybugs (specifically multicolored Asian ladybeetles) congregating as fall gave way to colder temperatures.  Box elder bugs, leaf-footed bugs (or western conifer seed bugs), and brown marmorated stink bugs were also seen congregating this fall in areas of the state where they have been found before. These insects are attracted to homes and will attempt to find a way inside to spend the winter in a protected place. The urge to look for an overwintering spot is triggered by the first hard frosts and freezes of the season, but this year we had a fabulous warm-up after a cold spell which allowed the insects ample time to congregate on houses.

Western conifer seed bugs (sometimes called leaf footed bugs) on the left, and boxelder bugs on the right, also congregate in the fall as they look for warm protected places to spend the winter.

A Western conifer seed bug (sometimes called leaf footed bugs) on the left, and boxelder bug on the right.  These two species also congregate in the fall as they look for warm protected places to spend the winter. Photo: Linda Williams, WI DNR

If you’re having problems with these insects invading your house you can try to “build them out”.  Spraying the exterior of your house with appropriate pesticides to keep them out (which will repel all insects for a time) works well but it’s recommended this is completed by the last week of September or first week of October.  UW Extension offers a fact sheet that gives suggestions for keeping ladybugs out of your home.  When I get calls about ladybugs or box elder bugs inside the home, I recommend vacuuming the critters up, but always avoid squishing, since squishing them will stain whatever they are crushed on.  Be sure to empty vacuum bags that have ladybugs in them as the ladybugs will start to smell after they die.       

It’s not unusual for me to hear of folks mixing up multicolored Asian ladybeetles with Japanese beetles … they’re two different critters.  And, yes, multicolored Asian ladybeetles are indeed ladybugs.  Both exotic and native ladybugs feed on aphids and scales which means that they’re beneficial, but only the exotic ones will try to spend the winter in your house or garage.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff.; 715-356-5211 x232

Of historical interest…

Past reports from the 1992 and 1967 WI DNR Forest Health Annual Reports

25 years ago – 1992

European fruit lecanium (Parthenolecanium corni (Bouche))

Heavy infestations of this scale insect were reported on sugar maple twigs in Vilas and Price counties.

Jack pine budworm (Choristoneura pinus (Rohwer))         

The outbreak in the northwestern counties, which began in 1991, exploded this year (Figure 16). Over 114,000 acres of jack pine were heavily defoliated in Douglas, Bayfield, Washburn and Burnett counties. Egg mass surveys indicate extremely high numbers of jack pine budworm. The area of defoliation may increase in 1993. The present defoliation is not expected to cause significant mortality except in Highland Township, but another year of heavy defoliation in the same stands could cause 10-15 percent mortality. In Highland Township, Douglas County, extremely severe feeding produced significant. mortality and top dieback on several thousand acres of jack pine. Most of these stands are being harvested this winter. Moderate to heavy defoliation also occurred in Jackson, Juneau, Eau Claire, Marinette (1,650 acres), Vilas (2,960 acres) and Oconto counties. In Marinette County, 20 acres of 70-year-old jack pine were cut to release young jack pine and white pine. Jack pine budworm was causing severe top mortality. Evidence of budworm in the northern portion of the Monroe County Forest was observed on 35-40 year old jack pine (Sections 4, 9,16, T19N, R3W). DNR foresters have silvicultural guidelines available to manage budworm-prone jack pine stands.”

Continue reading “Of historical interest…”

Oak wilt detected in Sheboygan County; additional finds in northern WI

Alt text: Oak leaf from the first oak wilt detection site in Sheboygan County, showing bronzing coloration characteristic of oak wilt infection. Photo: William McKnee, WI DNR

Oak leaf from the first oak wilt detection site in Sheboygan County, showing bronzing coloration characteristic of oak wilt infection. Photo: William McKnee, WI DNR

Oak wilt, a deadly fungal disease affecting the red oak group, was recently detected in Sheboygan County for the first time. Wood samples were collected from adjacent symptomatic oak trees on the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit in the Town of Mitchell after the trees were spotted by DNR Forestry staff. The presence of Ceratocystis fagacearum, the fungus causing oak wilt, was confirmed through a DNA test done at the DNR Forest Health Lab and DNA sequencing done at the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center. On-the-ground control options are currently being examined.

Oak wilt is a common disease in the southern two-thirds of the state, but has been

Map of counties where oak wilt has been detected, with the recent Sheboygan County confirmation shown in orange.

Map of counties where oak wilt has been detected, with the recent Sheboygan County confirmation shown in orange.

increasingly found in the northern counties. DNR staff have recently reported first community detections in these northern counties already known to have the disease:

  • Langlade County – Town of Langlade
  • Sawyer County – Town of Edgewater
  • Washburn County – Town of Stone Lake

Oak wilt has been found in all Wisconsin counties except Ashland, Bayfield, Calumet, Door, Douglas, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Taylor.

Additional information about oak wilt can be found at the DNR Forest Health website.

Written by Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh.; 920-360-0942


Tree City and Tree Campus USA applications due

Tree City and Tree Campus USA application deadlines are right around the corner, December 31! You can access information and application materials for these Arbor Day Foundation recognition programs from the DNR Urban Forestry website or Arbor Day Foundation’s website. Tree City and Tree Campus applicants are encouraged to use the online application form, though hard-copy applications are available. These national award programs recognize efforts to raise awareness of the importance of trees and integrate trees and proper tree care in Wisconsin communities, around utility lines and facilities, and on college campuses. Continue reading “Tree City and Tree Campus USA applications due”

Community Tree Management Institute was a success

CTMI studentsThe first of three sessions was held for Wisconsin’s Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI).  Twenty-six students from across the state met in Green Lake, WI October 17-18.  These municipal tree managers (who lack technical and program management in arboriculture) learned the foundations of urban forestry.  Through hands-on training and exercises, students learned about: canopy and measurement tools, tree benefits, awareness and support, politics and policy, leadership, partnerships, legal issues, ordinances, budgeting, tree boards and utilities.  Instructors for session I included: municipal foresters, public works directors, a UW Extension agent, utility representatives, consultants and DNR staff.  The variety of instructors, their perspectives and interactive components is meant to appeal to all learning styles.  Continue reading “Community Tree Management Institute was a success”

Making room for sustainable sourcing

By Dwayne Sperber, owner, Wudeward Urban Forest Products and appointed member, Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council

When a company has publicly committed to corporate social responsibility, environmental conservation, or working with and through the local community, a new construction project is the time to put these philosophies into action. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

Designs may get drawn up with the best sustainably-minded intentions — locally-sourced, low emissions, recycled, reused, energy efficient, the list goes on. But as familiar as the design and construction industries are with using environmentally-friendly materials, most of these products do not come in standard sizes, colors or volumes. And they don’t always fit seamlessly into a standard construction management process. Continue reading “Making room for sustainable sourcing”

Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council meeting

Council group photo MNThe Urban Forestry Council held their most recent quarterly meeting on October 13 at The Oxbow Hotel in Eau Claire. This was the second time the Wisconsin Council met with their colleagues in Minnesota, board members from the Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee and MN DNR urban forestry staff. In addition, they were joined by Urban Forestry Council members from several additional states: Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan. The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council and Wisconsin DNR were pleased to welcome these urban forestry representatives from the region for the meeting. Continue reading “Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council meeting”

Healthcare facilities using green spaces to help in healing

Imagine taking a relaxing walk in a wooded area, listening to the sounds of wind through trees, birds, and water running down a stream and seeing beautiful, vibrant shade of green. This type of an environment has shown numerous benefits, from cleaner air and water to increased health benefits like reduced stress and blood pressure. Continue reading “Healthcare facilities using green spaces to help in healing”

Forest products celebrated

Forestry organizations, businesses, and communities celebrated Wisconsin’s diverse forest products sector during National Forest Products Week on October 15-21, 2017. Gov. Scott Walker also proclaimed the week as Forest Products Week in Wisconsin, encouraging citizens to recognize the many products that come from our forests because of the people and businesses that work in and care for forests.  Several forest products businesses and organizations hosted open house events throughout the week.  DNR produced a new handout to showcase the economic value of Wisconsin forests.  If you’d like copies of this printed publication, send an email to noting your street address, the number of copies you’d like and the publication code number (FR-698). Continue reading “Forest products celebrated”