Friday, November 24, 2006

Lady bug, lady bug, fly away home...

Sitting near a window yesterday, I kept seeing dark shadows flit across my peripheral vision. My first thought was that the wasps had returned to one of their favorite spots, but a closer look revealed that these particular dark shadows were tiny -- and there were lots of them. I couldn't be sure from the little bellies pressed against my window screen, but I thought they might be ladybugs.

I grabbed my camera and stepped outside. Sure enough, they were ladybugs, literally hundreds of them, the first swarm of them I've ever encountered.

The ladybug has the distinction of being the only insect I will willingly let crawl on my body. Someone taught me early on that they're friendly, and I've spent quite a few peaceful moments throughout the years watching one little cute, colorful body at a time climb up my sleeve. Yesterday, I called my daughter to come and take a look, and the ladybugs were all over our clothes and all around us in the air. I felt as if I were in fairyland.

There's no sign of the ladybugs today. Through a Google search, I learned that these particular visitors were Asian Lady Beetles. Much like Carmon's Western Conifer Seed Bugs, they "like to overwinter indoors" and "they emit an unpleasant odor and a stain when squashed." I'm sure Carmon would much rather find ladybugs in her jeans.

It was fun to see so many ladybugs at one time. I hope they'll come back someday, and I'll be extra careful not to squash 'em.

UPDATE - Same Day, 1:30 p.m. - They're baaaaaaaaaaack. The ladybugs are swarming again at the same corner of my house. Now I'm wondering if they're moving into my walls for the winter. You know, cute can only get you so far. I still like 'em, but if they start any trouble, I'll evict their little polka-dotted asses.


  1. You're right...a ladybug in my pants would not gross me out nearly so much as a stink bug! Carmon

  2. One year we had a swarm of those cute little things move into the are, just before winter. At first it was really neat to see so many at once, then it got annoying, all over my car, my house, and in my house!!! 100's of them! Hanging on the curtains, the tassle of the ceiling fans, covering the TV screan, they were everywhere! We kept trying to catch them and put them outside, no go! They would just come back, or more would show up, they settled in my living room ceiling, under the fake wood beams. After several weeks, they finally dissappeared! It was really strange!!! I never had the heart to squash Hope they move on there way soon!

  3. Carmon, those bugs of yours just LOOK like they're up to no good.

    BD, thanks, nice to see you back.

    Debi, that sounds awful! Each little bug appears to be so harmless, but I wouldn't want them ganging up on me.

  4. I've seen swarms once but the ladybugs stayed outside. This year for the first time I saw clusters of fireflies covering the side of trees. That was a first for me.

    It is interesting, isn't it, that we feel differently when there is one or only a few than we do when they are en mass.

  5. Better ladybugs than the swarm of termites I found INSIDE my first house the first spring we lived there. I had a wall all black with them! Screamed like a banshee, I did. Then I got the vacuum out and sucked them all up.

    Great photo, Velvet - composition, color and all.

    (Just 6 more days! You can do that standing on your head!)

  6. For the last few years we've had them swarming here in Ohio. They are inside, outside and all around the yard... no choice but to vacuum them up since they seem to favor my kitchen.

  7. Annie, I forgot about fireflies. So now there are TWO insects I'll willingly let crawl on me...but only in small numbers.

    Sunflower, we had termites at the office. Nasty little creatures, those!

    Kat, last year I probably saw half a dozen ladybugs over the course of a day or two, and I remember thinking it was unusual to see so many. Ha! Little did I know what lay ahead. According to the Wikipedia article I linked to, the swarms are becoming much more common. Who could have predicted we'd ever have to deal with ladybug invasions?

  8. i had a swoorm of lady bugs in my house one time, daughter like to have freeked out. kill, kill um she said. i took a broom and sweep them up and put them out side. they kill aphids and aphids are very hard on rose bushes. i like lady bugs.

  9. Patsy, I like 'em, too, but I understand your daughter's reaction. I wouldn't want so many bugs inside my house, even friendly ones.

  10. No bugs that I know about here. In years past, we'd know fall was reallyhere because we'd have lots of tiny black bugs (maybe gnats) commit hara-kiri on the window screens, but they haven't shown up in large numbers in the last few years. One good thing about colder weather is less bugs. Kat, I haven't seen ladybugs around here.

  11. Janet, I remember some tiny, tiny black bugs that swarmed every year in Missouri. My grandmother called them oat bugs, and they were so tiny they'd come right in through the screens. My grandma's solution to the oat bug invasion was to serve only those dishes that normally had pepper on them. We knew we might be eating oat bugs, but at least we wouldn't be sure.

  12. Butterflies. I forgot butterflies. So that's ladybugs, fireflies and butterflies that can crawl on me. But that's ALL.

  13. I've become a fan of your blog (along with my son) via Kim's site (I wipe up the drool caused by her site before visiting yours) and happned across this one after my Thanksgiving vacation from computers.

    My house in invaded by these creatures yearly, leaving their rattling carcasses in window sills and along the edges of my carpet... filling up my vacuum to no end. They do emit a nasty stink when/if you squish them and stain as you mentioned, one other warning, the little stinkers BITE and leave behiind a lovely red mark for a couple days.

  14. These little creatures are one of my favourites and belong in the realms of faerie red-capped *pixie* toadstools and fireflies. I've never seem such a large gathering of ladybirds, what a lovely sight. They are the gardener's friend too.

  15. Katie, I'm glad to hear from you (and your son--if he's young, please accept my apology for the "polka-dotted" you-know-what remark).

    Sounds like you've had bad experiences with ladybugs. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but I think it would hurt my feelings if one of these cute, gentle creatures saw fit to take a bite out of me.

    Sandy, I've always felt the same way you do about them. Now, though, with so many of these little gardener's friends, I'm just hoping they don't get ticked off by the fact that I don't have a garden.


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