Yesterday A was so excited as we thought we had found a ladybug. A ladybug in the middle of winter in Alaska. We were so excited. It must have come in with some packages in the mail. A quickly made a little habitat and it slept by her bed. Today she carried around the container and set it next to her to do school. I even posted this pic on facebook.
All was going great. A was thrilled with her new little friend and felt great keeping a ladybug safe and warm from the snow outside. Yes all was peaceful in my house until the phone rang.
The conversation started like this.
Friends: You have got to get rid of that bug!
Friend: You have got to get rid of that bug. You need to go flush it down the toilet It isn't a ladybug It is an Asian Beetle and they are an invasive species.
Me: Your kidding right?
Friend: No you need to get rid of it now. They are horrible. They can bite, they get into the walls of your house and are stick when you kill them. Go flush it right now.
Turns out, facebook friend was right. This is not a ladybug. It is in fact known as Harmonia Axyridis, or the Asian Ladybug. They were introduced from Japan for biocontrol and they have become quite a problem in the US. If you google them, you will find page after page devoted to the problem of controlling these pests. My friend had horrible experiences with them in their house before they moved to Alaska, which is why she was so familiar with them. I flushed it and A cried. School today turned into a lesson in invasive species. This page here was extremely helpful in both explaining things and helping A feel better about letting her tiny bug friend go.
Oh what a fun day. So we both learned something new today. Now we know how to properly identify a ladybug, and A plans to be on the lookout when we head south next week for our vacation.