Thursday, December 15, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I noticed a ladybug -- or "ladybird," as they say here in England -- on the windowsill in our bedroom. I tried to catch it to put it outside, but it stubbornly refused to climb onto a piece of cardboard so I could lift it to the window. I didn't want to try to pick it up for fear I'd crush it. I left it, thinking it would probably starve from lack of water and aphids.

It caught my eye once or twice since then, and I was surprised to find it still alive. How long can this crazy bug live inside, I wondered?

I did some research online, and it turns out it's not at all unusual to find ladybugs indoors, particularly in the fall. Apparently they seek out a place to hibernate, and houses sometimes substitute for the caves and crevices they'd use in the wild.

I debated what to do with it. Should I just leave it alone and let it winter in our bedroom? Should I put it outside? It seemed to be a bit dusty, despite my fairly rigorous housekeeping, which suggested to me that it needed a better environment.

I read on this website that ladybugs that manage to come inside may deplete their natural stores in the dry environment of a house and die before spring. "They are quite tough and can be swept up or vacuumed with a small hand-held vac, and carried outdoors, where the cold keeps their metabolism slow until spring," an expert recommended.

My ladybug, or ladybird -- whichever you prefer -- turned out to be an Asian "harlequin" variety, originally imported to Europe to combat pests but now considered a threat to local British ladybird species. (It figures I would have an evil ladybug.) That suggested a third option -- killing it outright.

Somehow, though, killing a ladybug just seems unacceptable, even an unwelcome interloping ladybug. (It doesn't know it's interloping, after all.) So in the end, I decided to follow the expert's advice. I coaxed the bug onto a piece of cardboard -- successfully this time -- and put it on the windowsill outside. I checked a few moments later and it had disappeared into the chilly afternoon.


  1. That's exactly what I would have done. I can't bear to kill any living thing except a mosquito... and maybe the nextdoor dog who taunts and barks at Jake every time he goes outside.

    Your ladybug hardly looks 'evil'!

  2. My brother's family lived in a house once that had a ladybug infestation - hundreds & hundreds of them on my nephew's bedroom walls. I think he still has nightmares about it :)

  3. We have stacks of ladybugs here- My son filmed one by accident, thought it was aninteresting brown lump and then the back began to open and fall away- morphing from a larva to a ladybug - it was astonishing to see- Really creepy- My friend had an infestation- Horrible- they bite and crawl into tiny places, like ears, and have to be surgically removed. They smell awful.So, cute as they may be- in mass quantities they can be EVIL! Just like anything I suppose! Just like people...

  4. Oh- and the dried berries on my blog are blackberries. They almost made it but froze in their tracks!

  5. I'm sorry this ladybird is a menace...Thanks for the information. I hope her appearance does not signal an infestation.

  6. I've heard that infestations can be really terrible. Fortunately, we've only had the one. I don't think we're headed for anything dire. :)