Our Misnamed Spotted Friends
Story and Photo by Joseph Zahnle
I don’t know about you, but I dislike insects landing on me or entering the house. Flies are gross, the possibility of getting stung by a bee or wasp is unwanted, and some bugs are simply unappealing to the eye. At our home in Caldwell, we spray insecticides on the lawn and around the house, and use fly swatters or bug zappers to help control the little pests.
Yet there’s one insect many people think differently about, and which I’ve liked ever since childhood. Coccinellidae or lady beetles— popularly known as ladybugs—are harmless, small, and have a very nice design on their wings. They can land on us and we don’t mind. If one makes it into the house, we carefully catch and release it outside. I often produce a sheet of paper for a ladybug that’s gotten into the house, let the creature crawl onto it, take it outside, and shake the paper so it flies away.
Outdoors, we stop and watch them crawling around. If we see one on the ground, we make sure not to step on it. Ladybugs are beneficial to have around the place, because they eat aphids, which attack vegetation—and we definitely don’t want to see aphids in our gardens or anywhere else.