Ladybugs swarm in the Midwest as autumn winds blow through
Autumn in the Midwest is notorious for ladybug swarms, and this year is no exception.
Friday, October 28, 2011 - 15:20
RUBY RED: A swarm of ladybugs gathers on a rock, basking in the sunlight. (Photo: *clairity*/Flickr)
There's a certain time of the year when you open your drapes in the morning, hoping to be greeted by sunlight, and you come face to face with little red spots crawling all around your screen. It's autumn, and that means it's ladybug season.
Also called the Asian beetles, ladybirds and much more uncommonly, "God's cow" (this amusing nickname comes from the literal translation of the Irish word for ladybug, which translates as "God's little cow"), ladybugs are an unmistakable part of fall. People have many different views about them, but there is no doubt that they make themselves noticeable.
In autumn, unfortunately, they are viewed as pests. Ladybugs have a habit of swarming on the sunny side of buildings, and they also manage to sneak through windows and cracks to crawl around inside the building or house. Even if you think your house is sealed, they might be able to get inside anyway. My windows seem to completely block my room from the outside, and yet I still have ladybugs fluttering around my room occasionally.
Many people use pesticides to get rid of ladybugs in their homes, but that is not the best idea. If you must rid your house of ladybugs (personally, I don't mind them), there are other, greener methods to keep them away from you. A combination of water and dish soap will do the trick, rather than a fancy pesticide. You could also let them be, as long as they aren't running rampant, and if they do make a mess in your house, it is easy to sweep them up. If you have them swarming around your house and landing on things, turn on a large light near the ceiling, and they will be attracted to that instead of you and your things.
Ladybugs admittedly have their pest-like aspects, specifically their tendency to bite people when there are not enough aphids for them to feed on. However, they are mostly beneficial to humans, especially in the case of agriculture and gardening — they feed upon many insects that contribute to plant damage, including aphids, mites and scale insects. Also, as far as insects go, ladybugs aren't particularly ugly. Many cultures view them as symbols of good luck, and since they are cute and tiny, they are a favorite insect among children.
If nothing else, the swarms of ladybugs in the autumn are certainly a sight to see, and hopefully a fair amount of people enjoy them. If ladybugs aren't your thing, now you know some greener ways to get rid of them, or at least how to avoid them. When the first frost hits, the ladybugs will be gone, but for now, enjoy those little red jewels on your window.
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