Vacuum them up if they get in -- and remove or empty the bag or canister to prevent the little creatures from crawling out. Don't swat them. Their yellow blood will leave a stain and a horrible odor. If lady beetles are clustered on the siding of your home, they are waiting for an opportunity to enter your home. Knock them down with a strong spray from a hose.
What to do now
I'm always asked: "What should I be doing right now in my garden?" Fall cleanup is a good idea, but be careful to prune the right things.
Here are some perennials that need a good haircut in the fall:
Bearded iris; bee balm (Monarda didyma); blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora); bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare'Purpureum'); columbine (Aquilegia); corydalis (Corydalis lutea); crososmia; daylily (Hemerocallis); hardy begonia (Begonia grandis); hollyhock mallow (Malva alcea); Japanese anemone (Anemone x hybrida); painted daisy (Tanacetum coccineum); penstemon (Penstemon barbatus); peony (Paeonia); phlox (Phlox paniculata); salvia (Salvia nemorosa); Solomon's seal (Ploygonatum odoratum); Veronica/Spike Speedwell (Veronica spicata); yarrow (Achillea).
Here are some to leave alone until spring. These plants don't do well when pruned too late -- better to wait until the temperatures warm up in the spring. Hostas, for example, get ugly over the winter, but benefit from the protection of the collapsed leaves. And some, like the black-eyed Susans, should be left because their seed heads will feed the birds. Plants like plumbago emerge in late spring, so leaving them standing helps the gardener remember where they were planted!
Artemisia asters, astilbe, balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus), black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida), blue mist shrub (Caryopteris), butterfly bush (Budleia davidii), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberose), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), coral bells (Heuchera), dianthus, globe thistle (Echinops ritro), new hybrid goldenrod (Solidago), hosta, lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina), lavender (Lavandula), pincushion flower (Scabiosa columbaria), purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), red-hot poker (Kniphofia), Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), sedum, tickseed (Coreopsis), wand flower (Guara).
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.