I manage, somehow, to forget things from year to year, only to be reminded by nature that they call them seasons for a reason. First we had the Great Wasp Invasion of 2007, in which a series of wasps appeared on the inside of the blinds in our West-facing living room windows during a KU football game. That was solved with various quick moves involving paper towels and wasp innards left on the blinds, plus a healthy dose of plastic sticky wrap to seal the fireplace opening where they were coming in.
This week it is the official beginning of Kansas Lady Bug Madness. How can I possibly forget that at some specified date in the fall, every insect species that has been happily living outside suddenly wants to live inside. The first thing I noticed was that every time I went outside, I came back inside with at least one new friend, all of whom were red-orange with black spots. Once inside, they would try to sneak away. It is apparent to me that all Kansas ladybugs get failing grades in Stealth 101. For a while, we carefully took them back outside, sometimes starting a repeat of the original process.
Then, Tuesday night, they found the chink in our armor. The power-washing housepainters had dislodged part of the bottom seal that insures that the second-floor door to our little deck is at least marginally sealed. The ladybugs found that security lapse as soon as it got dark and we turned lights on in the living room. My wife heard a gentle buzzing and headed for that door. On the carpet, in a spreading pattern from that tiny opening, were 100-150 ladybugs. Our carpet looked like vampires had come prematurely for Halloween and dripped all over the rug.
To our eternal dishonor, we did not even discuss getting them safely shooed outside. Instead, we opted for cruel expediency. I stood guard and my wife got the vacuum cleaner. In no time flat, the carpet was once again builders-special beige. My conscience is still bothering me, but there is a difference between the occasional insectoid freeloader and an outright invasion of Asian spotted beetles. Somehow, I feel better now when I call them that instead of ladybugs.
I have a premonition that from now on in my life, the ones I treat gently will always be ladybugs, but the ones that look like little soldiers in goofy uniforms will forever be the Evil Invading Asian Spotted Beatles.