Monday, February 19, 2007

Fly away home...

I have bugs.
Lady bugs.
Or, more properly, I have Asian lady beetles. A little too formal for my taste, but that’s what Kentucky State Entomology Department says.

I moved into this house in April 2005. It was spring, and I remember seeing them now and then. As bugs go, they don’t come remotely anywhere near my ‘ew, gross a bug’ list. That spring I remember thinking I was seeing more than I’d seen in the previous 5 years, but again they were just lady bugs.

In the last month, I’ve seen one a week.
Today, while I was drying my hair there were three on my bathroom window, three.
I was instantly reminded of that Amityville horror scene with the flies on the window.
This made my ‘just ladybugs’ attitude very difficult to maintain, and I found myself unable to look away from them. The biggest one took flight at one point, up to the ceiling in the middle of the bathroom, completely freaking me out, just for a minute.

I’m big enough to admit I shrieked like a little girl.

I wondered if North Carolina was just some weird haven for lady bugs. Was it the pine trees? Was it something in my house? Perhaps my creepy crawl space has something to do with it? I’m going to find something to blame that crawl space for, sooner or later. And, why the hell were they all over my house in FEBRUARY? I don’t know diddly about lady bugs, but um, shouldn’t they be, uh, hibernating, or in a cocoon or doing some other cold weather-bug-behavior?

I got online tonight and did what all adults do when confronted with something they don’t know diddly about. I googled “lady bugs.”

I learned that they are avid aphid eaters. Mmmmm. Aphids. Couldn’t you just go for some now?

Yeah, I googled Aphids too, shut up.

I also learned that they are supposed to be hibernating and that my problem is not uncommon. Apparently our mixed up seasons have mixed up the little buggers, no pun intended. Lady bugs come inside buildings during winter and do just what I saw them doing in my bathroom. In the spring, they gravitate toward the southwest window openings and hang out trying to find their way outside. Guess what direction my bathroom window faces? The only real problem they can cause is that they can “reflex bleed” a toxin from their legs – which is good for use against ladybug predators but can stain furniture or counter tops. So that yellow oily stain on my bathroom counter is reflex blood? Ew. Did I say these bugs weren’t on my list of gross bugs? I think Wikipedia is changing my mind.

At any rate, it’s unlikely I have a problem worth doing much about – the pictures I saw of serious infestations were well beyond my measly three bathroom ladybugs.

However, I have been muttering that “ladybug, ladybug fly away home” thing all day.

It's not working. They're still in there.


caroline said...

Lady bugs, huh? When I lived in Metter, GA, the window sill in one of my bedrooms was always covered with lady bugs (guess which direction the window faced?). Someone told me not to worry, that they wouldn't harm anything and were actually good luck.

They are also the Official Bug of the State of Massachusetts.

For more interesting ("eye of the beholder" time here) facts about your new friends, check out

And as for the "reflex blood" - yuck. TMI. I do believe that, in this case, ignorance is, indeed, bliss.

Roy said...

You told them their house was on fire and children all gone?

Tell'm again, and ask if they're waiting to hear it from Johnny Smith from Dead Zone or something. Jeesh.

tiff said...

In both our houses in CT, the ladybugs would swarm around in October and March....leaving that gross yellow ick.

Shop vacs work well to suck 'em up,,,,but isn't so much good at spitting 'em out.

kenju said...

I have had a few of them in my house, but I've never seen the yellow ick. Since it is going to be warmer later this week, maybe you can coax them outside?

Kim said...

You should check out the ladybug print in KH's office. It's called "The Last Aphid."

Wordnerd said...

But they're so darn CUTE!

roo said...

in ohio, they started releasing these to get rid of aphids. then they got out of control. its like some perky ladybug 50's horror b-movie.
suck em up in your sweeper.
and sing the darth vader song while you do it.

utenzi said...

Ladybugs. Sure, they're the cutie-pies of the insect world but who wants them inside your house? Not me! Good luck, Cravey. I have occasional visits by ladybugs in the Winter also.

Biff Spiffy said...

I don't know from bugs, but in Michigan the Asian ladybugs are taking over the world... (wait till that sentence sinks in...)

These critters are more orangey than the 'real' ladybugs, and they infest houses here. And they smell bad. And, if you pick 'em up, they bite.

These are not our friends. I have a friend with a very high-ceiling living room, and last year there were a dozen softball-size wads of these things clustered on the walls and ceiling corners, waaaay out of reach of your average stolen ladder. Ew. We shop-vacced 'em, but they kept coming in.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

In our first house, we had gazillions of them. As you said, reminiscent of the Amityville Horror. I took to vacuuming them and then disposing of the bag immediately. I think it really helps if you live in a less tree-ey (foliage-y?) area.

Biff is right, they do smell bad. I try to be humane sometimes and get 'em on my hand to let them out the front door.

That being said, our new house (a much older home without all the security and plenty of trees, but placed just so on the property), I don't see very many of the stinkers. Gah!