I have spent the last couple of weeks, or the last couple of years in various seasons, trying to do one thing...kill Asian lady beetles. They go by many names including Japanese lady beetles, Asian lady bugs, orange lady bugs, stinky lady bugs, harmonia axyridis, and the plague that the Department of Ag inflicted on us. These bugs are a menace and they are driving me completely insane.
I’m not sure if they are more common out in the country, but they must be because the people that complain about them the most are people that live out of town, so if you have no idea what I’m talking about, can I come live with you? I love to do laundry, my kids are really cute, and I think I’m a pretty darn good cook. Think about it.
I’ve heard that these bugs have two very active seasons during a year, but I’m thinking that’s maybe in their original habitat because I’ve seen these monsters for about six months now. When it gets really cold they seem to disappear, but since it didn’t get super cold here this year, on every somewhat warm day, they started creeping around, attacking our windows. Then, the warmer it got, the more aggressive they became.
I’d stand just inside the door with my son on a day 55 degrees or higher and give him the pep talk:
“Alright, now let’s beat those bugs. I want to see you run to the car with everything you’ve got. Don’t waste your time swatting or dodging, that only encourages them. Just run little man, run like you’ve never run before!”
Then I’d open the door, yell, “RUN, RUN, RUN!” as he was distracted by the cat, or the woodpile/activity center, or just his imagination, which left me carrying a baby, at least three bags, as I was trying to close the door, all while being surrounded by those nasty lady beetles.
Rule of the wise: Keep your mouth shut, eyes squinted, and pray they don’t fly in your ear.
Now this has become my mission in life: How do I kill them? I know they kill other bugs that eat plants, that’s the whole reason they were released, but it’s too late to have any reasoning for this. Anytime I go out and feel a slight tickle on my neck or arm, I start doing a little crazy dance thinking one is on me. Now that’s nothing new to the average Wal-Mart observer, but when people are on a mission in Aldi, they really do not like to wait behind you while you block a whole aisle trying to dig in your clothes to find what you thought was a lady beetle in your bra. I have almost taken a sip of coffee to look down and find a lady beetle floating in there, just staring up at me in triumph. One has flown in my mouth when I was outside hanging clothes on the line. That’s my happy place, and those nasty bugs have taken it from me.
I’ve tried to just get rid of them. I’ve vacuumed them up to find that they just come back to life after the original shock, but not until they’ve sprayed their nasty stink. For those of you that haven’t been blessed with Asian lady beetles, they have a distinctive odor to combat predators, a pungent, grassy kind of smell. It’s gross anyway I describe it. I’ve put out sticky traps to see if they’ll fly to them, which they do, but not in the desired number. Then I started using the lightly covered sticky trap as a bug broom. Once there are a few on it, you can swipe it across a covered window and catch more without the trap sticking to the window. It’s disheartening though because after swiping a whole window and catching a hundred or more on the sticky trap, just as many or more will appear within minutes.
Now, I spend my time on the internet, trying to find solutions. I’ve read about little yellow bags that attract them and trap them once they’re in, but even though they are trapped, you are still attracting ten times as many toward your home, so those don’t have great reviews. One post said to soak a cedar log in water for 24 hours and use the water to spray all over your yard. Supposedly, the bugs are detracted by the cedar oil that is now in the water. The post said they won’t even go near cut cedar, but we’ve got a small stack outside the house in the woodpile and they have no problem crawling over it compared to the other wood, so I didn’t even bother trying that. Another post said that you should mix Dawn dishwashing liquid and water and spray that all over your yard. The author of the post said they are detracted by the smell. I thought I’d test it out in a small area first. Our windows are covered when it’s sunny out, so I covered a rag in dish soap, wiped it over one window, and let it dry. I kept it pretty soapy so the smell would stick around. Honestly, it worked somewhat. I’d say that it’s 50% less covered than the other windows, but when 200 lady beetles is diminished to 100 lady beetles, it really doesn’t impress me.
So I spend my free time coming up with concoctions to scare away these lady beetles. I dream of going on Shark Tank with my idea, presenting to all the midwesterners out there who are at the end of their wits, to be applauded and then sent on to QVC to become the next home shopping star. Maybe they’ll make a movie about me like Joy but instead of Jennifer Lawrence playing the heroine, Amy Adams will get to play me and then be nominated for an Oscar after portraying the struggles I went through before achieving QVC success.
In reality, during my pitch on Shark Tank, I’ll be interrupted by one of the sharks incredulously asking, “Wait, is this a real thing?”
Yes, this is a thing people, and cute little lady bugs are being ruined for a whole generation of kids.
If you know of any solution that I haven’t thought of, please let me know. As of now, I’m to the end of my rope. I’m going to take the yellow bag, go on a long hike to one of the neighbor’s farms, hang it where it won’t be noticeable, and walk away. If they are attracted to a neighbor’s place, maybe they’ll leave our house alone.