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This fall, your pets may be vulnerable to 'unladylike' pests

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 7:46 PM - While temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, pesky Asian lady beetles search for a home to overwinter and sometimes they choose unpleasant places.

In Barton County, Kansas these insects continue to swarm homes and local businesses. Unfortunately, they have gone so far as to embed themselves inside the mouths of dogs.

Pet owners in the area are concerned after Hoisington Veterinary Hospital's Lindsey Mitchell posted a photo on Facebook of one of her patients that had around 30 or more Asian lady beetles stuck to the roof of its mouth.

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"This is the second pup I have seen like this today," she wrote on the social media site. "If your pet is drooling or foaming at the mouth look for these lady bugs. They cause ulcers on the tongue and mouth and have a very painful bite."

WARNING: This article contains a graphic image below.

This is the second pup I have seen like this ...

According to Mitchell, a bite does not pose much of a problem. However, the longer the insects are inside the mouth, the more irritation a pet owner will see.

While there have been efforts to debunk the photo, Mitchell assures this image is no hoax. 

The vet told local GB Tribune this type of occurrence is rare and the only likely reason why the two pets were affected was because so many of the beetles were swarming the area.

"I posted the photo not to freak people out, but to provide pet owners with an action to take in case they find one of their pets drooling excessively or with apparent foaming at the mouth," Mitchell told the news agency. "They could avoid a trip to the veterinarian's office if they check their pet's mouth and if they find the beetles, they can simply remove them with their finger or a tongue depressor. They aren't like a tick, so there is no worry that a head or any part of the animal will be left behind to hurt the animal further."

The only problem is, the insects deposit a protective sticky mucus and the longer they stay attached inside the mouth, the harder they are to remove, the GB Tribune highlighted.

These are the first two cases Mitchell has seen and she could not find any scientific information surrounding lasting effects if the insects are ingested.

One upside to the Asian lady beetle infestation: they combat aphids on soybean and milo crops.

The sugarcane aphid in the local milo crop has brought the beetles to the area as they are major predators and feed on the aphids.

Asian lady beetles have been known to invade Ontario, creating headaches for the Niagara wine industry. The insects were first introduced to North America in the late 20th century and are now considered an invasive pest. They range in colour from tan to orange to red. They often have several black spots.

As autumn approaches, the adult beetles leave their summer feeding sites in yards, field and forests for protected places to spend the winter, which include homes and buildings. Beetle flights are heaviest on sunny days following a period of cooler weather. Swarms tend to seek out crevices on the south and west sides of houses. They are known to emit a foul smell when killed.

SOURCE: GB Tribune

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