Signs of Autumn

November 01, 2007

Living in the Midwest there is one sure sign of autumn's arrival. No, it isn't the fiery red of the leaves on the Maple trees. No, it isn't the sudden appearance of pumpkins for sale in every parking lot around town. And it isn't frost on the car windows in the mornings.

No, it's the invasion of lady bugs into your house. It start innocuously enough with one or two on the screen of a window or sliding door. Then there are a few inside the house, maybe up by the ceiling, in a corner of the room, huddled together. Then one morning you come downstairs to find a dozens of the little beasts on the walls, floor, and furniture.

They are attracted to the warmth of your house and want to winter there. They release pheromones, which tell all the other lady bugs where to go. Being tiny little monsters, they are able to sneak through cracks and crevices not easily found or plugged. Once you've had them once, you'll continue to get them; the pheromones don't fade from year to year, washing the house to remove the pheromone trail is almost impossible.

Once in your house they don't do anything but hibernate. unfortunately our homes are too dry in the winter for them to survive so most of them camped out inside will perish. If stressed they will release a tiny bit of blood (it's yellow), which has a foul smell to scare away predators. The most expedient way to get rid of them is using a shop vac to hover them up and take them back outside.

Ladybug ladybug fly away home, Your house in on fire and your children are gone, All except one and that's little Ann, For she crept under the frying pan.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.