Looks innocent, doesn’t it? Watch out, they bite.
This is a fake ladybug. Ok, it’s a real ladybug, but it is not the cute red kind with a few spots that people put all over children’s stuff, but the Asian lady beetle, a non-native that lives around here in droves. They’re usually more orange than the ladybug you usually think of, with more spots. When I say they bite, it’s not like mosquitoes or spiders, but more like ants. They pinch, but don’t leave a mark, and it doesn’t seem to be purposeful or happen often.
In the fall, when the crop fields are being harvested, they end up in the house as they look for places to hibernate. Right now, there are probably a hundred crawling around our bedroom window. I sweep them away, and by the next day, more have moved in. They leave tiny little sticky spots behind them, and I’m told they smell bad if you crush them (I wouldn’t know as my nose is pretty stuffed up these days, but I do know that the cats have no interest in eating them).
Last year when we were still looking for a house, we toured many properties that would have porches or sunrooms with the floors covered in their little dead bodies. At the time, we thought that meant the places had been empty for a long time, or no one had bothered to sweep for years. Turns out, if there is any little way for them to get in, they will, and in numbers great enough to make a room look abandoned in no time at all.
So okay, a great reminder we need to do more to seal up our house. And then, maybe, we can have few enough of these around to go back to calling them ladybugs like they’re the cute little creatures of nursery rhymes rather than the soybean beetle invaders we consider them to be at the moment.
*title by Alex Hamasaki