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10 January 2006 — Ladybugs (7)

Here at Rosings Park we've endured bad contractors, leaky roofs, flooded basements, (sort of) stolen camera equipment, and a hostile neighbor cat. Now we're suffering an insect infestation: our home is being overrun by ladybugs.

The first documented ladybug in the house was the one I ate at the end of October:

I'm sitting at my desk, composing this weblog entry. I'm listening to Neutral Milk Hotel and munching on hickory smoke flavored soy nuts. As I'm mousing around, I bump into a soy bean that I must have dropped. Without looking, I snatch it and pop it into my mouth.

Crunch crunch crunch.

"Hm," I think. "That doesn't taste very much like hickory smoke. It tastes rather like grass. In fact, it tastes gross." And so I spit it out into my hand only to see that I have not been gnashing a stray soy bean but a stray lady bug.

Gross!

Since then, the ladybug presence has grown from a couple a week to a couple a day. We'll be sitting watching Upstairs, Downstairs or playing World of Warcraft and a ladybug will alight on us. Or we'll hear one tik tik tikking against the light fixture.

Kris and I disagree over the source of the ladybug infestation. "I think they're coming in from outside," she says. "They're coming in the window in the entertainment room."

"What makes you think that?" I say. "There's no evidence that this is the case. And why would they choose only that window? Plus, look at it: it's sealed tight. I think there's a ladybug nest someplace in the room. Maybe in the Christmas cactus. I think they're reproducing."

"Right. What evidence do you have for that?" asks Kris. "Where are the ladybug eggs? The ladybug larvae? Why aren't we seeing even more of them?"

So, we really don't have any idea where the ladybugs are coming from. Meanwhile, they've started making their way from upstairs to downstairs. There were a couple in the kitchen last night. We don't really mind. It's kind of fun to have a ladybug infestation. "If they were any other bug, we'd be grossed out," Kris observed last night. "But ladybugs are like friendly visitors from the insect world."


I don't recall that I've mentioned this before, but it's an interesting follow-up. Last February, some camera equipment was stolen from the trunk of my car. Only it wasn't. The thief took the bag from the car, and then dumped the camera and lenses in the bushes at the edge of the property. (He kept the cell phone. He didn't take several hundred dollars in checks that were on the back seat.) Joel found the camera equipment when he was here in March.

Later in the year, somebody broke into Kris's car. They didn't take anything from the front, but they opened her trunk and stole the first aid kit and miscellaneous roadside emergency supplies.

What sort of thief is this? He leaves compact discs and checks (and a checkbook!) and thousands of dollars in camera equipment, but he takes a cell phone (easily deactivated in minutes), flares, and a first aid kit? I don't get it.

On this day at foldedspace.org

2007605 BZT   In which I am thwarted by a slow driver.

2003I Hurt Myself Laughing   In which I share a photo of a shaved cat.


Comments
On 10 January 2006 (03:56 PM), Josh said:

Sheila and I have had ladybug invasions before. They congregated in the corner of a window which received the warmth of the afternoon sun. I believe this was in late autumn. The little beetles seemed to decrease in number as the season wore on, and the remaining ones began to fade from bright red-orange to a pale, yellow-brown. Eventually, their tiny, desiccated corpses littered the windowsill. I did not, however, mistake them for soy nuts.

Oh, and ladybugs are voracious predators of other, crop-destroying insects, so overall they're a pretty beneficial infestation to have.

What sort of thief is this? He leaves compact discs and checks (and a checkbook!) and thousands of dollars in camera equipment, but he takes a cell phone (easily deactivated in minutes), flares, and a first aid kit?

Kids, most likely. They're just interested in electronic toys and pyrotechnics. You'd think they'd have stolen the CDs, but then perhaps they don't have your refined taste in music. ;)


On 10 January 2006 (07:00 PM), David VanKeuren said:

J.D. I would strongly suspect our neighbors that live across from me on Sunnyslope. If it wasn't them directly it certainly would be one of their ilk that frequent their place when they are either buying or selling their illicit wares. I hate to sow the seeds of mistrust, but I would really, really refrain from storing anything you want to keep in your vehicle. Unfortunately, as long as they are living in our neighborhood, we will all have to be extra vigilant. FYI, if you have any newspapers missing from your box, you can probably thank them for that as well, as they have been known to grab newspapers from their neighbors boxes.


On 10 January 2006 (07:25 PM), B said:

Lady bugs: Kris is probably right. They're trying to overwinter on, under, and inside your house. They like to find shelter when night temperatures are below 50. Maybe there are just two of them and they are learning to get back into your house more and more quickly :)

It's pretty common for a theif to ditch bulky items if they see a car coming or otherwise get freaked out. They can always come back. With bikes it's common for them to just steal wheels or seats and throw them in the bushes. I think they hope that you'll be encouraged to leave the rest of your bike in that exposed public place over night.

On the other hand a wounded NSA agent might be able to make good use of your cell phone and a first aid kit.


On 10 January 2006 (11:24 PM), Nikchick said:

We've certainly had a lot of rain around here too. Our friend Marc joined us for dinner tonight and was saying that we're edging toward beating the record for straight days of rainfall in Seattle (I think he said it's 33) if the forcast holds out. Current five-day forcast:
Rain, Rain Showers, Chance Rain, Rain, and Likely Rain.



On 11 January 2006 (08:46 AM), Joel said:

Round here we've had a couple of bug infestations, last year in particular, and the bugs looked like ladybugs, but were actually "Asian Beetles" (there's probably a more official name). The main difference between the two? I guess Asian Beetles aren't so benign and pest-killing as true ladybugs. Also, when you squish (or, presumably, chew) Asian Beetles, they release a bitter smell (taste).
So, are you sure you have a ladybug invasion, or might it be an insidious foreign element?


On 30 April 2006 (12:32 PM), Carole said:

We've been bothered with ladybugs in central new york for some time. I discovered that using a few moth balls keeps them away. I place a couple on the window sill & outside under those windows where I've seen them. Very easy & inexpensive.


On 26 March 2008 (09:04 AM), Linda said:

I have been swarmed with lady bugs....last Sept. sitting on my patio at 2:30pm....I thought I was in the "Twighlight Zone"...they swarmed the house and surrounding area...I could not believe my eyes...scared me! I realized they were ladybugs!thousands. No over time they have crept into my house (So. West expsoure white Wood frame house.) which they say attracts them. It is a nightmare. Trying to brush your teeth or eat...and it's embarassing when you have a dinner party and here they come in droves. I have developed somekind of sinus allergy since all of this began! So I am going to try the moth balls! lol and see what happens!!! Linda in Westchester NY. Thanks for the tip!