The lady bugs that aren't; the story behind Asian Lady Beetles

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - They are red, they have spots, but they are not lady bugs. No, the little red and black insects bugging folks across the Brazos Valley are actually Asian Lady Beetles.

Brought first to northern Louisiana, the beetles have spread to nearly the entire continental United States.

Roy Parker, a professor and extension entomologist at Texas A&M, explains that the beetles were first brought to control the aphid population.

"They're highly beneficial, but they have one drawback," Parker said. "They tend to want to gather in large numbers during the winter."

Parker says as the temperature gets lower, the chance of seeing them inside a home gets higher.

"They will move into structures and buildings and such, and they're just a nuisance," Parker said.

A nuisance maybe, but getting them out of a home is an easy fix. Parker recommends vacuuming up the critters and dumping them back outside.

The bugs are also repelled by anything citrus. Additionally, home improvement stores sell specific sprays to get rid of the insects.

Perhaps the best news about the beetles?

"They're essentially harmless," Parker said. "They can bite a little bit, but they're not serious at all."