Last updated: January 24. 2014 3:23PM - 577 Views
Evelyn Richardson Here and There

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We used to chant a little ditty, “Doodlebug, doodlebug, come out of your hole, your house is on fire and your children are all gone.” And it would work. If we kept up the call and were patient, that little gray bug would emerge from the tiny crater of dust that was home. We were ecstatic that he followed our command.

Do you suppose we could come up with a jingle that would turn the heads of ladybugs and make them go back where they came from? I have already tried the commonly known anonymous quote of which the above is an adaptation: “Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home, Your house is on fire, and your children will burn.”

We are told not to kill ladybugs as they cause no harm and are a friend to the gardener. Leave them on plants as they will eat destructive preying aphids. I comply with this protective policy, but this is winter. These are simply hunting for a warm place and have invaded my house. No matter how hospitable I might be, they would not last until the summer season. There will be another hatching to be of service then.

Thank goodness they are not harmful. They definitely are annoying since there are so many. Who wants bugs crawling around everywhere even if they are friends? I stay busy recharging the hand vacuum to suck them up.

I think the thing that bothers me most is that they are clearly winners. Their natural nonviolent defenses have my attacks beat by a country mile. They can slip through the tiniest of openings. My windows, their main entry, appear to be tight-fitting but they find a way.

They are speedy on their six little legs, and if I do gain on them, they push out their wings and fly out of reach.

They are masters at finding hiding places. I think that I have cleared out a wave of them and before I sit down, a new batch is out in plain sight.

If they choose not to flee, they deploy their turtle mechanism, retreat into their shell and play dead. In that state, there’s no way to pick them up as their bodies make a suction cup against any surface.

Their arsenal of survival techniques is topped off by their offensive smell. When all else has failed and my patience has worn thin, I go forcefully for the body and they shoot out their unique odor. It seems impossible that an insect so small can pack such a strong smell. I move away and head for hand washing.

They fall in the dishwater. I find one running around the rim of my toothbrush cup. I see one mostly hidden between the folds of the curtains in the bedroom; will he get loose and crawl in my ear as I sleep?

It’s humbling to have the security of home compromised by ladybugs.

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