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Voyageur's Best Generally Speaking Columns of 2003

Asian Beetles

Area residents fight the Asian beetle invasion
by Cynthia Brekke  |  October 14, 2003

I can remember, as a child, finding and catching a lady bug was kinda unique. We’d put them on the end of our fingers, close our eyes, and chant: “Lady bug, Lady bug, fly away...”

All last week, I fought the most unwelcome of unwelcome visitors. You know how you can remember where you were and what you were doing when an event happens in your life? It was Sun., Oct. 5... a very nice day... about three o’clock in the afternoon. The beetles literally appeared out of thin air, and I’m not talking about the reincarnation of the musical group from London. My heart sank, and I know mine wasn’t alone.

When I left the house that afternoon, there weren’t too many around yet, and they hadn’t gotten into the house. However, upon my return home, I walked into, what could have been, a scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The ceilings and walls were crawling. I immediately grabbed the vacuum cleaner, and so began my week-long journey as a homicidal maniac.

Every morning and every night was the same routine, but I did come up with a battle plan... you might call it a ‘Beetle Battle Plan’. At night, I left selected lights on (without decorative fixtures), to attract them. In the morning, all I had to do was suck ‘em up around the bulbs.

Daytime was more difficult. In the light, they’re everywhere, scattered like polka dot print. It’s almost as if they have a ‘divide and conquer’ instinct. My first plan of attack was the corners, ceilings and walls, away from the windows and doors, then the windows and doors themselves. I didn’t want to have to worry about being attacked from behind.

There are those folks who don’t get too worked up over the annual invasion, but they drive me nuts. In the first place, THEY BITE. Don’t listen to those who tell you they’re docile. Maybe REAL lady bugs are, but these bugs are no lady. Secondly, they stink. My vacuum cleaner reaked from the stench of them, and probably would have spewed their pungent aroma for months - but even the vacuum couldn’t stand them. It died on me last Wed., full of lady bugs. What an awful way to go. Thirdly, they’re dirty. Ever look at a window after a few hundred have crawled across it? They leave their orangish-brownish endtrails behind them, like they’re drawing themselves a roadmap. Let’s face it... these bugs are so disgusting that even the birds find them distasteful. So, who can blame me for wanting to plot their demise?

Ours isn’t the only household that was entrenched in the war of the beetles. The talk of the area was what to use to repel or kill the unwanted visitors. Some used diluted bleach water, others sprayed with a combination of water and soap (or household cleaner), while still others bought the Raid and covered them with a white foam.

Some comments included: “My house is the same color as the lady bugs, and there were so many that it looked like my house was moving...”

“They BITE! I was out trying to paint our sign and I was getting bit up so I decided to heck with it. I’ll paint it when it gets a little cooler.”

“My mom is duct taping every crack and vacuuming constantly.”

“They stink soooo bad. I was working with my dad, at his sawmill, and they were just thick. All day, I smelled like sawed wood and lady bug pee.”

“Don’t step outside with a white shirt on, they’ll be all over you.”

Connie Lehman has a grandchild in Fort Wayne, Ind. She received word on Wed. that the lady bugs are thick as thieves down there, too, and the Dakotas... pretty much the whole tri-state area, and even beyond.

There are those in the commercial realm that can spray your home, inside and out, to get rid of both the bugs and their eggs... you know, the guests you still find crawling around at Christmas time? Anyway, I know of one person who sprays for them, but I think he should ADVERTISE. I’ve been told the spray is residual, so it keeps on killing them. Sounds like my kind of spray.

With the chilly weather, our spotted invaders will soon crawl into the nooks and crannies to hibernate, and we’ll be rid of hem until next year. Nice to have something to look forward to, isn’t it?

This article first appeared in the October 14, 2003 issue of the Voyageur Press.