You might think we're getting into the time of year when we no longer have to deal with the nuisance of invasive insects.

Isn't it time they all started looking for a nice warm place to hibernate and leave us alone? I bet I got more bug bites this summer than ever before. In certain areas--including my own BACKYARD--I couldn't be outside more than two minutes without being covered in itchy little welts.


Yes, one of the reasons many of us look forward to the end of summer is the disappearance of all these pests. But they don't all go away when fall comes. And one pesky species, in particular, can fool us into thinking it's much friendlier.

As a rule, I never kill a ladybug. I've always heard it was bad luck, but maybe that's a superstition because of how beneficial they are to gardens. Here's what the University of California's Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) says about their virtues:

Ladybugs are beneficial insects that play a major role in keeping down populations of insects that feed on plants.  Perhaps most importantly, ladybugs are predators with an insatiable appetite for aphids. A ladybug can eat up to 5,000 aphids over its lifetime. They can also help to rid your garden of other soft-bodied insects such as mites, mealybugs and leafhoppers, along with insect eggs and even ants.


It seems ladybugs--and they're actually beetles--are superheroes in the insect world. So it would only make sense they have a supervillain. And, just as if it were written by the folks at Marvel Comics themselves, they have an evil doppelganger known as Asian lady beetles.

But before you start carpet bombing the living room, make sure you know the detailed differences between the two.


I'm guessing anyone who wouldn't kill a ladybug would probably reprieve the Asian lady beetle, too; the similarities ARE striking. Here's why the University of Minnesota says you don't want these things around:

Some can bite hard enough to break human skin, causing minor, short-lived discomfort. These bites happen when the beetles are searching for moisture or food. They can secrete a strong-smelling yellowish liquid from the joints of their legs. This liquid can stain light-colored surfaces. Exposure to dead lady beetles in buildings can cause allergic reactions in some people.



Don't they sound pleasant? Anyway, if you have fine-tuned your peepers and can spot the differences, here's what to do to keep Asian lady beetles at bay.

We sure do get a lot of invasive species in Kentucky, don't we? But so does everyone else. And they can't invade without help.

So keep a magnifying glass around in case you don't want to take any chances and take out a ladybug. It'll be the weirdest dot-to-dot exercise you've ever done.

[SOURCE: WKYT-Lexington]

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