Meet the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle.
Ranging in color from yellow-orange to red, with a variety of black spots, these tiny buggers are about 1/3 inch long with a domed body.
Their origin is questionable. Some say they were imported from — where else? Asia — after they were discovered to snuff out plant pests like aphids. Others say they came all on their own and migrated across the U.S. and Canada.
Regardless, they do their job well. They don’t sting, carry diseases, or do structural damage to buildings. They don’t harm people or pets.
But they breed. Extensively. And they seem to find comfort in large groups.
“Ladybugs” turn into the bane of our existence as a warm fall changes to a cold winter.
Sure, they’re cute. But outside bugs should stay outside!
Instead, “ladies” have learned that homes, office buildings, churches, and so forth are typically warm even during the winter, and warmth is what they want.
So they’ll circle the outsides of windows and doors, soaking up a late afternoon’s sun. Ever vigilant, ever hopeful, they wait. And when you least expect it, they’ll s-q-u-e-e-z-e their speckled bodies into the teeniest of crevices, planning to hibernate peacefully inside with the occupants until Spring.
Well, sort of.
If spooked, they spread their wings and fly. Perhaps right at you.
They’re not too proud to hitchhike a ride inside on your clothing. Or the family pet.
And they have an interesting — yet nasty — defensive method for when they get scared. They “bleed” a smelly yellow juice from their legs. Of course, this reflex prevents birds from bothering them, but you can imagine how disgusting (and staining) it is on clothes hung outside to dry. Or on upholstered chairs indoors.
I remember one warm fall, when I was hanging Christmas lights early, and the “ladies” were swarming so thickly around my head that I had to step off the ladder and shoo them away.
Now you’d think they’d be happy once inside. After all, that’s where they wanted to be.
Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles spend their winters going ’round and ’round the edges of windows — perhaps to get out? And if you “help” them outside, they realize it’s cold, so they search for a way back in.
A continuous cycle.
Last winter I watched a couple of them circle inside a sunny window, never bothering anybody, constantly running like hamsters in a wheel.
Yes, they can be a nuisance, but I don’t have the heart to kill one.
Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing.
~Christina Georgina Rossetti