• Carmen Marie Fabio

Ain’t no lady…


For most of us, the end of summer is characterized by the first tinges of orange on the maple leaves and the gorgeous red on the sumac; threats of creeping frost tendrils to the last few tomatoes on the vine, and the uniquely Canadian phenomena of needing to use your car’s heater for the drive into work in the morning and the AC on the way home.

I’m beginning to notice a proliferation of Woolly Bear caterpillars lazily arching their bodies onto the warm midday asphalt, perhaps in preparation for what the Farmers’ Almanac says will be another brutal winter. But there’s another sign that indicates the impending change of season – that one unseasonably warm day after a spate of cool weather where all the windows in the house are literally crawling with a slow-moving maze of orange-red half-spheres, speckled

with black dots, aimlessly and eerily meandering like a lurch of six-legged zombies.

Yes, it’s that time of year where swarms of Asian Ladybugs literally crawl out of the woodwork, and wherever else they’ve been hiding, in order to search out winter accommodations. And I really wouldn’t mind so much if they didn’t decide that my own house might be the perfect hangout until next April.

I have an agreement with any spiders in my home – as long as they stay out of my way, I won’t kill them. The ladybugs, apparently, don’t subscribe to that ethos and the battle lines were crossed when I recently felt one land on my neck as I dozed on a Saturday morning. A Saturday morning.

Even worse, these little freaks bite. Granted, it’s not a severe injury but it’s more the indignation of the whole being-bitten-by-a-ladybug thing.

Getting rid of the aberrations presents its own myriad challenges as squishing them results in a vengeful smear of that odoriferous yellow... stuff. Vacuuming them up will either waft the aroma throughout your home or leave you a lovely surprise when it’s time to clean out your central-vac canister.

I don’t know what it says about me that I’ve devised the perfect way to kill Asian Ladybugs but… you’re welcome.

Take a handful of toilet paper and smear some Vaseline on it. Grab a Q-Tip and dip one end in the grease. Pick up the bugs one by one with the Q-Tip and deposit them on the greasy toilet paper.

The Vaseline will prevent the spray of the yellow stuff. When the paper is full, flush the whole thing down the toilet. No it’s not pretty but hey, it gets the job done.

There’s a lesson in here somewhere, perhaps about balance, perception, and proportion.

One ladybug is cute.

Tens of thousands of them is a gruesome infestation.

Revisited. This column was originally published October 2, 2014.