Mistaken Identification

Upon arriving at college several years ago I remember having a myriad of concerns, the fear that I would have a crazy roommate not being the least significant among them.  Luckily, these worries were soon relieved as I was paired with a girl who not only was normal but also quickly became one of my closest and most valued friends.  However, her one flaw has caused me grief from time to time throughout the years.  That’s right. My roommate is petrified of insects of all shapes and sizes.  From the lowly house fly to the somewhat more threatening wasp, the sight of an insect will cause my roommate at least a little discomfort if not all-out terror.  This phobia, which has caused me to become the household’s primary insect assassin due to my slightly lower fear of them, first became apparent upon the appearance of a seemingly harmless lady beetle.

Although many red, black-spotted insects are called ladybugs, the term is not accurate.  In fact, these little creatures are not “true bugs” at all but are beetles of the order Coleoptera.   Insects often called “ladybugs” in Indiana are the Asian Lady Beetles that are commonly orange rather than the bright red typically associated with other ladybugs. Lady Beetles are carnivorous and prey on aphids and other small insects.   

The event that brought Asian Lady Beetles to my attention, i.e. the entrance of one into our dorm room, was an exhibition of a behavior characteristic of these particular beetles.  Asian Lady Beetles, unlike other lady beetle species, will invade human structures to hibernate for the winter. Although I am perfectly content to release a wayward beetle back to the outdoors, the appearance of 20 or more insects in my home would be a cause for alarm. 

Getting rid of these insects once they have invaded your home is no small task.  Some recommendations, such as sealing cracks and crevices in your house seem like a no brainer and keep the lady beetles from entering the house.   Others such as vacuuming them, something I distinctly remember my mother doing, will help reduce the problem but may not be infallible.  Lady beetles are known to crawl out of the vacuum cleaner and back into the house when the vacuum is turned off. It seems unfair to destroy the insect, considering it is relatively peaceful toward humans.

Lady Beetles Feeding on Tree Sap

Asian Lady Beetles may be a nuisance when they decide to take up residence in your home. Fortunately, their uninvited immigration occurs only once a year.  Other issues associated with the insect are a smelly, yellow secretion emitted as a defense mechanism. The insects may cause allergies in some individuals.  While annoying, one recourse is to simply wait until the insects disappear for the season.

This entry was posted in by whitames, Environment, Invasive Species, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

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