October 13, 2003

The Ladybug Battle Continues

For those of you who don't already know, the Midwest is being invaded by Japanese beetles, otherwise known as ladybugs. This invasion, compliments of a USDA initiative undertaken in the late 1980s as a means to control soybean aphids, finally hit critical mass this years thanks to a drought-ridden summer followed by this October's Indian summer.

Make no mistake about it, the ladybugs are out in full stink-fucking fury. I blogged about them before, but the true extent of their invasion was laid bare this weekend when I went back to my hometown to check on my parents' house and do some end-of-the-year yardwork.

As I mowed the lawn Friday afternoon, it was a toss-up as to whether I was cutting more grass or more ladybugs. Some of the little buggers managed to take flight before the mower set upon them, but the vast majority became beetle mulch. The survivors, however, made their displeasure known by landing on me and excreting their stain-creating whatever the hell it is. Some stains were green, while other were brown, while still others were a combination of the two.

Oh, and they also bit me a lot. I'm sorry, I guess their bites are gingerly referred to as "pinches," as if the ladybugs are coyly flirting with me. Well, those "pinches" are painful little bastards. And, woe be it to you if you actually take revenge on the pinching little pukes, because the slightest squeeze makes them let loose with the most foul-smelling aerosol ever to be shot forth by a bug the size of a pea.

With the yardwork completed, I went inside to wash up, because I was covered in little specks of ladybug shit and ladybug stink. That's when I made the discovery that, upstairs, the ladybugs had staged a takeover of my parents' home. I mean, every corner of every room upstairs had a conglomeration of beetles hugging up against one another. Each corner, I think, housed a minimum of 10 to 15 ladybugs. They were EVERYWHERE.

So, out came the Raid. I sprayed Raid in every room, on every corner, on every surface. When I was done spraying, the entire upstairs was a fog of Raid that could have qualified as a weapon of mass destruction, at least according to the insects of the world. I retreated downstairs to wait for the Raid fumes to expire.

The aftermath was astounding. My parents' bedroom alone consisted of carpet that was 78 percent covered in ladybug carcasses. Hundreds upon hundreds of dead ladybugs littered the upstairs, including a large helping residing in the bathtub. And I STILL didn't kill them all. I saw several more resilient bugs clinging to life, and the drapes. So, out came the Raid again.

I never did get around to vacuuming up the little bastards. I'll get to that task the next time I'm home, provided the ladybugs haven't taken over the house completely.

Posted by Ryan at October 13, 2003 09:50 AM
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