Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Annual Ladybug Migration

November is a special month for the ladybug...

It means it is time for the annual ladybug migration!

Apparently, according to my research and this interesting article, ladybugs are more active between mid-October and mid-November because cooling temperatures drive them to find homes for the winter.  Ladybug flights are heaviest on sunny days following a period of cooler weather, when temperatures return to at least the mid-60s, so the last few days have been just perfect for ladybugs.  They do congregate near the sides of warm buildings and will come inside if given the chance!

Our neighborhood must be some kind of ladybug magnet.  I remember several years growing up here (I live one street over from my parents' house) when ladybugs would get into our house in the fall.  I even remember one year (maybe my freshman year in high school?) that our neighbors, the Segars, had a house full of ladybugs... literally, the ceiling in their foyer was absolutely crawling with ladybugs.  They probably had thousands of ladybugs in their foyer alone.  (Our current ladybug population is nothing like that, thank goodness.) I think we had a little bit of a ladybug problem three years ago during the first fall that we lived in this house.  But, the last few days in our house have looked like a ladybug winter retreat!

I just finished walking through the basement with the shop vac, sucking up ladybugs (mostly dead ones).  I do hate to kill ladybugs because I really like them a lot, but I don't have any choice in this situation!  I probably vacuumed up thirty or more of them!  Saunders picked six little dead ladybugs off one dog bed beside a window just a few minutes ago...  I guess they were drawn to the window and fell down on the dog bed when they died.  When I sat down to do a blog post, I had to get a paper towel and pick up two on the coffee table!  Katie Anne keeps saying, "I see another little ladybug... bring me a piece of toilet paper."  (Yes, she'll pick them up with a little square of toilet paper, squash them, and throw them away herself.  She's quite the exterminator and isn't afraid of any bugs except bees.)  I've even seen the annual migration of ladybugs described as
"The Cutest Plague Ever".
Of course, they are cute, but this many ladybugs does start to get annoying.

According to the article, this process is completely natural, harmless, and - if you are chosen by the ladybugs as a potential homesite - there isn't much you can do.  Vacuuming is suggested as the best remedy.  Sealing cracks and weatherproofing is also suggested, but the article says that even that won't solve all your problems... ladybugs are tiny and apparently quite crafty when it comes to getting into small crevices.  Also, I think us opening and closing the doors all the time to let the dogs in and out isn't doing us any favors... most of the ladybugs are congregated around the two doors that the dogs use most.  

The good news is that ladybugs don't do anything wrong.  They don't breed indoors, don't transmit any diseases, aren't interested in eating your food or invading your pantry, don't chew on wood or clothing or destroy anything, and they don't bite.  Also, they don't want to live in your house - they fully plan to move out as soon as the weather warms up.  Many cultures consider ladybugs to be lucky or a harbinger of good things to come.  They are cheerful-looking, tiny, and cute... but I still wish they were not in my house!  I do feel so bad about killing them because they are sweet little house guests who mean no harm.  Hopefully, our ladybug migration will only last a week or two more!


The Brown Family said...

We too are a home for the wayward ladybug! When we first bought our home 5 years ago I thought "how lucky we are to have beautiful lucky ladybugs everywhere, aren't they pretty Stephen?" BUT..... as the years have gone by and more than once I have picked them out of my dinner plate or off Addison's bottle drying rack that I have decided: WE ARE NOT LUCKY! They don't want to eat your food but are extremely nosey about it and they let off this putred scent when they sense a threat which is what they must concider me and the vaccum cleaner to be. But still I have taken the time to teach Addison about the little beauties and how they really are fun and hard little workers -- outside! Great post

Theron Hesper said...

It is good to see posts that give truly quality information. Great post.

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