It happened Monday. Asian lady beetles, also known as the 13th plague, descended upon the countryside. Seemingly out of nowhere, thousands and thousands of them appeared, crawling all over homes, cars, buildings and people. They flew through the air with such force and frequency that it was difficult to even walk outside. Friends reported accidental ingestion (the mistaken-for-a-chocolate-chip predicament), beetles up the pant leg, down the pants and other far-too-personal problems. My vacuum cleaner got a workout.
Most falls, we wage the Battle of the Asian Beetle. It lasts two or three weeks, maybe four, then the weather turns colder and they disappear. They slowly begin to appear, persistently work their way into homes, cars, shops and more, then recede.
Not so this year. We hadn’t been hit by any yet this fall, and I figured the frost of a couple weeks ago had taken care of them. Then, Monday happened.
Monday also happened to be the first day of harvest for many local farmers, and a lot around here were combining soybeans – a natural habitat for Asian beetles, which feed on aphids, which feed on soybeans. U of I Entomologist Mike Gray confirms that combines may have caused the beetles to leave these field sites. But overall, he says the warm and sunny weather broke their stupor and caused them to continue their search for ideal overwintering sites.
So this is the price we pay for a few 70-degree days.
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