The exotic Asian lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis, has become a prominent cause of seasonal inhalant allergy.
The Asian ladybug was introduced into the U.S. environment as an agricultural pest-control predator 20 years ago to control plant lice (aphids).
Asian Ladybug. Image source: Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5, Bruce Marlin, http://www.cirrusimage.com/beetles_multicolored_Asian_ladybird.htm
Aphids (plant lice). Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.
It was anticipated that the insects would not survive the winter but they did by invading houses. Asian ladybugs may cause seasonal indoor symptoms - chronic cough, rhinitis, and asthma.
Ladybug allergy prevalence in endemic areas has been reported as high as 10%.
Ladybug hemolymph is the primary source of allergens - Har a 1 and Har a 2. 'Reflex bleeding' from tibiofemoral joints (for communication and during alarm) disperses these allergens.
Ladybug skin testing should be routine in endemic areas. SCIT may be effective but a commercial extract is needed.
- treatment of the outside of a house with pyrethroid before the cold weather
- move to a tightly-built house or into an urban area
Seasonal inhalant insect allergy: Harmonia axyridis ladybug. Goetz, David W. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: August 2009 - Volume 9 - Issue 4 - p 329-333.
Indoor Allergen Avoidance