Attack of the killer lady bugs

Since moving to Franklin, Tennessee we have had many guests come to visit from all over North America. Susan has an incredible gift of hospitality and we do love to have friends and family over. Our home has even more room now that our children are off to college and beyond. Yet one guest, until recently, was a surprise visitor and came with all her friends every year… the lady bug.

When we first moved in, we were welcomed by hundreds of lady bugs. They were all over the house and even came inside through any possible entry point. Susan and I alway thought them to be beautiful and friendly. Until this week. We learned that one must carefully distinguish one’s friends from wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

ladybug

As we had our regular pest control treatment to ensure the warm Tennessee summer had not bloomed any bugs inside the nooks and crannies of our home and that the wood remained pest free, we received a startling education: all Lady Bugs are not kind. It seems that the bright red lady bugs are, as we expected, aphid eaters and fun to have around during their brief visitation period each year. However the orange lady bugs are bees in disguise. Or at least their bite would have you think you were stung by a bee. (They are actually Japanese Beetles in Lady Bug disguises.) Yes, the orange ones also like aphids. Just don’t assume they wouldn’t also like a piece of you!

All those times we’d gently held them as they landed on us and we gave them flight and freedom outside our home… and we simply thought of their color differences as interesting. No more. Close inspection is required. Now the annual migration of lady bugs to our home feels more like “Attack of the Killer Lady Bugs” than a scene from a pure and delightful children’s video. I posted our surprise finding in a Twitter update and found that others had experienced the same surprise. Yet, feeling no one would believe them, they kept the orange lady bug’s nasty side a well kept secret. No more! We will brave this killer. And keep our doors and windows closed during their next visit. Consider yourself warned. Choose your friends carefully.

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