Unladylike behaviour

It’s been a spectacular autumn in Ottawa. All these bonus warm days have sent me into the garden day after day, getting projects done I was sure would have to wait for the spring. Our walkway is clear of weeds and grass, the leaves are raked, the peonies have been cut back. But another beautiful day means another attempt by the ladybug army to take our house.

The ladybugs are especially attracted to the south side of white houses. On a sunny day ours becomes speckled in orangey-red spots.  When I open the front door to collect the newspaper, they storm.  They also sneak in on our clothing, and while they are easy enough to pluck off, opening the door to send them on their way brings in another wave.

Technically, these infiltrators are Asian ladybeetles. While they are pretty enough when you meet them one on one, these ones bite, and in swarms they are creepy.  Wonderful for the garden, as they munch on aphids, but in the home they are a nuisance, and if you accidentally squish one — yuck. They are stinky and the smell attracts their friends.

Warm soapy water is a way to discourage the critters and I’ve now armed myself with a spray gun. Neighbours be warned. You should expect to witness a recreation of the final scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when I leave the house on sunny days like these.

More on Ottawa’s ladybug invasion: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/10/14/ottawa-ladybug-invasion.html

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