Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beware The Ladybug

The weather's been rather nice the past few days, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. This being the complete opposite of last Thursday through Sunday, where we were treated to a preview of a January blizzard.

So the woodland critters made a reappearance in the backyard, as well as the insects. While I was working at my computer, I noticed a tapping on the rear window and sliding glass door.

Ladybugs. Lots of 'em. Smacking themselves against the glass.

Went outside to find the rear of the house buzzing with them. Not swarms like I've heard about on the news, but still, a lot. They were using the drainpipe as a freeway, some traveling up, some traveling down.

This happens just about every October. They're looking for a warm place to hide for the winter, and in some cases, swarm into houses. We've never had this problem, only about ten or twenty actually find their way into the house throughout October. This usually serves as entertainment for our cat (both the old cat which passed way, and the new kitten). I'm the one rescuing them and pitching them outside. The ladybugs. Not the cat.

From what I read, ladybugs can sting, pee on you (defensive bleeding), and smell bad. Honestly, I've never noticed. I handle them all the time, and never had one sting or defensively 'bleed” on me. Then again, maybe we just have really laid back ladybugs.

Here's two of them, hanging out on the side of the house (click to enlarge):

Here's one with an assassin wheel bug (click to enlarge):

About four seconds before I took that photo, the ladybug had been motoring along the assassin's leg, and the assassin was waving it's long, robotic leg around, trying to dislodge said ladybug. Apparently they don't eat them.

I don't pick up assassins. They have a long, pokey stinger on their face, that they probably use for sucking blood from other bugs. I heard they eat spiders, which makes them awesome in my book.

To give you an idea of how weird looking the assassin bug is, here's a better shot. Check out the stegosaurus cog on it's back (click to enlarge):

Funny, I grew up in a small town, and thought we had plenty of insects. I had no idea there were so many weird things living in the woods of Pennsylvania.

Speaking of weirdness, here's a random photo of Leonidas being pathetic. Apparently, waiting too long for his sweet, sweet softie food caused all the bones in his body to collapse: