“We are infested with ladybugs, thousands, all over the house outside, coming in through every crack!”
It was a text message from my daughter. Naturally, it was at a time when I was so busy at the office I could not spare a second for anything, much less bugs.
“I got the vacuum out. I’ve killed over a hundred inside. They are everywhere.”
I’ve never heard of such a thing — bees, maybe, termites, maybe, “Are you sure they are ladybugs?”
“Yes, swarms of them I have probably 200 on my window. The garage is full of them.”
And so began, a full-fledged episode of beetle mania. I felt like my head was going to explode. I could not deal with one more thing. The kitchen floor is missing thanks to a leaky refrigerator, the bathroom toilet was been broken, I lost my car keys… and now THIS?
When the plumber came to fix the toilet, he had cheerfully told me that bad things happen in threes. Not at my house. At my house they happen in swarms.
“Call the exterminator. What is the name of that one that came when we had termites?”
Later, another text came. “He can’t come until tomorrow. They have hundreds of calls. They have called in extra people and are working double shifts.”
Ladybugs are supposed to be cute and harmless. Children’s toys often look like ladybugs. I have jewelry that looks like ladybugs. Ladybugs are supposed to bring good luck.
“Okay, keep vacuuming.”
When I got home, I found out she was not exaggerating. In the garage, bugs were crawling up the wall and all over the ceiling like a scene from a horror movie. On the outside of the house, they crawled all over the house, especially the windows.
I found a half-full bottle of insecticide in the garage and went to work spraying around windows and doors. My son sprayed the garage.
Ladybugs may be cute when there are only a few, but no insect is cute when there are a thousand of them. Besides, these ladybugs were weird-looking. They were orange instead of red. I found out later that they were not local ladybugs. These were Japanese beetles, sometimes called Halloween beetles because that is the time of the year they appear. These were right on schedule.
“Weather is getting cooler and they are looking for a warm place to spend the winter. They are harmless, just leave them be and they will go away on their own,” advised an article on the internet. Obviously, their house was not swarming with hundreds of them.
The most aggravating part about the whole thing was when I found that the government released them as a natural enemy of aphids, which are tiny bugs that infest fruit trees. A large crop of tasty aphids and perfect weather conditions had made them fat and sassy.
They have no natural enemies here and can do as they please. Apparently, what pleases them is to reproduce. I guess the goverment guys didn’t notice they have WINGS and won’t stay where they are released.
I only hope this is not some biological warfare experiment and next thing they are releasing is killer bees or fire ants.
On the news that evening, there was a segment about the ladybug invasion. Apparently it is not just me. They do not carry disease, infest your food, or gnaw the house down. They do bite if aggravated.
The next day the exterminator finally showed up. Even after he sprayed, I still see a few. I can deal with a one or two walking across the ceiling upside down, just not hundreds of them.
Good grief, there is a ladybug walking across the computer screen now while I’m trying to type. How brazen can you get?
If ladybugs bring luck, I must be the luckiest person in town.