East Tennessee fights bug invasion

Sean Franklin 2:49 AM Lifestyle

Dozens of people have complained about 100s of bugs flying in and around their homes. A UT Extension agent says it happens because of the weather.

Finding one usually means good luck, but thousands at once - and in your home - is just a nuisance.

Jennifer Holifield's house in Sevier County has some unwelcome visitors.

"It's hard to capture because they're tiny, but they're everywhere," said Holifield, as she recorded the bugs crawling all over her home.

These tiny bugs are imposters - they look like what most of us know as lady bugs, but they're not quite the same.

UT Extension agent Neal Denton said they're more orange than the red lady bugs we normally see.

"Well, these are Asian Multicolored Lady Beetles," Denton said. "They're an introduced species."

And they've been introduced to dozens of homes.

"When we get a frost or a really fairly cold snap, they begin to look for somewhere to over winter," Denton said.

That's exactly the kind of weather we saw in East Tennessee recently, so Holifield and her neighbors seeing all these bugs makes sense.

But can they hurt you?

Denton said the bugs have small pincers that can pinch you, but the pain isn't terrible.

"They can show up in 1,000s, maybe even 10s of 1,000s on one house all of the sudden," Denton said.

And if they get inside, like what Holifield went through, bug spray can help

"Keep them vacuumed up," Denton said. "They're still coming in. Make sure everything is sealed very well. If you notice a particular point where they're coming in, where a door is not sealed well, where a window is not sealed well, seal it up."

He recommends hiring a pest control company to spray insecticide, rather than doing it yourself.

"They have the equipment to do it, they have the ability to do reach the areas you don't have the ability to reach, and they wear the right gear to protect themselves," Denton said.

While the bugs can be annoying during the cooler months, Denton said they can be good for your garden because they eat smaller insects who eat plants.