Thursday, October 20, 2005

The house is crawling with them

We have an infestation of sorts.

We knew all along that with an old house comes bugs such as spiders, possibly termites, the occassional mouse and even a bat.

Soon after we moved in and especially once spring broke, we were hit with more of a problem than we originally suspected.

We have nobody to thank for this problem other than our government, of course. More specifically, the U.S.D.A., who released these little bastards in the southern states over the past thirty years to control agricultural pests. (And a freighter from China, surprise.)

During the 1960s to 1990s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture attempted to establish the Asian lady beetle to control agricultural pests, especially of pecans and apples. Large numbers of the beetles were released in several states including Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. No such releases were ever attempted in Kentucky, and their occurrence here is probably due to northward migration from other southern states. Some scientists believe that current infestations in the U.S. originated not from these intentional releases, but from beetles accidentally transported into New Orleans on a freighter from Japan.

Little did they know that their populations would multiply exponentially and that not even the harshest of Minnesota winters would kill them.

Of course I am talking about Asian Lady Beetles. They are commonly and improperly referred to as lady bugs but lady bug are red in color and don't stink when they are crushed. Lady Bugs are actually beneficial, Asian Lady Beetles are nothing short of a nuisance.

They are plentiful in my attic. They cover my house. They climb through the smallest gaps in our house's structure. Their carcasses litter the basement. And in our house, they co-exist with Box Elder Bugs.

The other side of the aisle in the church of unholy bugs. The funny thing, or not funny, is that there isn't a box elder tree within a short drive of our house. Why do they love our house so much? They seem to live in the mulch over winter so that got soaked with my favorite bug killer, Malathion. That sure ended the party in their happy little home

As I am sure that I didn't get every last bug (you never do), I know that we will be swatting and sweeping them up all winter long as they emerge from around the windows. But let them be warned, someday I will win.

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