As a self proclaimed nerd, I take pride in seeking and redistributing the knowledge I find a long the way. This is not the case for all G.N.D.’s, as a future piece that will deal with the “Geekier than Thou” attitude shall address. But as a seeker of knowledge, when I do speak, it is usually with some semblance of confidence that I at least have a base understanding of what I am speaking about. So when G.N.D.’s are placed in a situation where their knowledge is called into question or simply dismissed, the first action taken is usually to do some research. We hate being wrong, but if we are we at least want to know what we were wrong about so that it doesn’t happen again.
It was general break room conversation, the kind that goes on about the little non indepth, non descript, just enough information to keep down the dreaded silence that all but those trying to read hate. On this day it just happened to be about the recent influx of winged pests into some co-workers homes. And so I, also having recently experienced this encroachment, commented on the “pumpkin” bug infestation.
“Oh, (awkward silence) no, they are lady bugs. The news said so.” was the reply.
The dork in me stopped talking about it. I didn’t have the confidence to back up my thoughts. I was pretty sure that the bugs crawling around my house and the run of the mill lady bugs, were in fact two different kinds of bugs. Sometimes you can judge your audience, and know that no matter how much you try to persuade them otherwise, unless you have the credentials, they will believe the news over you to a fault.
So, when I arrived home, moping at having my added information to the conversation so lightly dismissed, I decided to research the little pests online.
Well, to my slight dismay, while there is a bug called a “pumpkin” bug (I can’t remember where I got the term pumpkin bug from but I was always told that they were not lady bugs)…it is not the kind of bug that is infesting the houses this time of year. (If you do happen to have a pumpkin or squash patch though, it might be the cause of any current crop issues) However, I did find out that the beetle that is finding its way through every nook and cranny, is occasionally called a “Halloween” bug due to it’s orange-red color and the time of year it chooses to make it’s way indoors.
So the specifics…
The beetle that is infesting mine and other’s houses is called the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle. So it is in fact a lady beetle. However, what we call a “Lady Bug” is what is known as a Convergent Lady Beetle and is a native species, where as the M.A.L.B. comes from Asia. The M.a.l.b. was introduced several times over the past 100 years in an effort to cut down on crop eating aphids and scales.
Our little pesky friends are actually quite harmless. Once in our homes they do not reproduce as they are simply “overwintering”. They do not eat but instead live off of their fat stores…and if they do eat it’s only soft bodied insects, so they can be a beneficial little critter. The only real issue with them is the stink/stains they produce if they are squished or severely traumatized. They do this unique thing where they release some of their blood in defense…which happens to smell and stain.
So I might not have been 100% accurate,*tear* but I was right about it not being the same as your average “ladybug”. I, at least, was not willing to take the news at it’s word, just because it was the news, and I made sure that the next time I spoke of the subject I would at least have a better base understanding, so that I could be confident in my facts. I also have the added benefit of having learned some interesting new facts I might not otherwise have known, had my knowledge not been questioned. (Like the best way to rid your house of the buzzy beetles. Go to the last link and scroll down for a diagram that shows how to prepare a M.a.l.b. removal device)1