Back Around the House II: Beneficial, harmless little beetles


The beetles are back. Actually I don’t think they ever go away.

Five years ago I told you about the invasion of the Asian beetles into our home and into our entire community. They had a great public relations team working for them. They managed to convince all of us these beetles were beneficial. They eat aphids when they are living out in the open and save our gardens for those who plant then.

After the first noticed invasion, we plugged, and caulked, and did what we could to encourage the little orange spotted insects not to use our house as their winter home. Since we were convinced they were beneficial, we used the bug spray sparingly. The result is they have flourished and multiplied.

The first evidence they are about to take over our world occurred several months ago. We called the tree trimmer to remove a big overgrown bush in our fence row. Bill and one of our sons were supervising the job in the back yard.

As the men started to remove the bush, a brownish cloud filled the air. Bill and son looked in amazement as the workers were enveloped in Asian beetles. They first looked at each other, and then, astonished at themselves. Their own clothes were covered by these beneficial insects.

When they told me about the increased population in the yard, I knew winter shelter would soon be required. I did not look forward to providing shelter for a gazillion bugs, even if they were beneficial and harmless.

Unfortunately, I did not do anything about it. I just thought about it, and then went on working on more current problems. I should have been more pro-active.

A few weeks ago I stepped out onto the front porch one morning and felt the crackle of tiny beetle shells under by feet. Thank heaven I had my shoes on or I would have totally freaked out.

It was apparent the beetles were searching for winter quarters.

They may be beneficial and harmless, but we swept them out. In a matter of seconds either they or their cousins were back. I had other things to do, so I gave up. Very shortly after this, they seemed to disappear.

But then, the weather warmed up again, and they were back. Hordes of them, all over the porch, and I didn’t even want to think of where else they might be. It was so bad that every time the screen door slammed, gobs of them were mashed.

I remembered years ago I had read an article which said when an insect was killed it emitted an odor that warned others of its kind to stay away. Either these insects did not emit an odor, or the others were odor-impaired.

This experience caused me to rethink the media’s reports on these beneficial, harmless little beetles. They may eat plant destroying aphids in the garden, but we no longer cultivate a garden—not even a tomato plant. And the thought they are quietly sleeping somewhere in our house is not very comforting to me.

I bought several gallons of insect spray the next time I went to the store. But, the little orange spotted menaces have disappeared again, except for the few we spot now and then in the house. But when the whole clan comes back, I’m ready for them. But then again, maybe they won’t come back because they are already safely inside. But where?

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Nov. 7, 2001.

By Kathleen Floyd

Back Around the House II

Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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