Blog Wildlife

My Favorite B Movie. Mutant Ladybugs From Outer Space

March 15, 2012

I am hazy, befuddled and confused. This seems to happen every March. I find I’m overcome by lethargy, somnolence and an abundance of sloth. Bears, bats and butterflies may hibernate in winter, but the sleepy stage of my circannual rhythm generally falls around the date on the calendar when we are told we must wake up, and spring forward! I just can’t do it. I used to think that Daylight Savings Time had something to do with it, but now I believe the ladybugs are to blame.

The red and black ladybug appears harmless. So why does her springtime arrival make me so sleepy?

They’ve been on the move, you see. These cute beetles line the frame around my bathroom window, and cling to the mesh screen. I don’t mind, and when they squirm their way into the house, somehow without squashing themselves in the process, I enjoy watching their solemn march across the bathroom tiles. Once in awhile they’ll spread their tiny wings, evaluating if flight out is possible, and in the attempt, they flip upside down. I always turn them back over, let ’em try again. Ladybugs don’t bother me as do other critters of the bug world, the flies, miller moths and spiders; their round-bodied forms, brightly shellacked red and polka-dotted with black, must have been the model for Walt Disney when he decided to create an Eve for his Adam. While Minnie Mouse’s dots are white, I’m certain this is true. Have you ever known anyone who disliked Minnie? Or ladybugs? There you have it. Hypothesis confirmed.

I’ve become suspicious lately, though.

It all comes down to timing. I used to think that my sleepiness corresponded to moving the hands of my clock forward one hour, so that the pink-and-gold tinged mornings I find so beautiful around February are submerged into deep blue darkness once more, reverting us to January’s cold gloom. The promise of summer picnics, barbecues and flower gardens tantalize with lengthening sunny hours at the end of the day, before reality sinks in that these pastimes are still months off. Sure, it’s nice enough outside that we could fire up the grill, stretch out on the patio and sip a cold beer, but who in their right mind does that in March? Every foodie website has perky shades ‘o green and some form of Irish stew at the moment, hardly barbecue fare. Sometimes, it takes me weeks to shake off the disappointment that it isn’t quite spring, yet.

I’ll never forget the year, I think when I was in sixth grade, where, trying to be proactive, I set my alarm clock back an hour. Yes, I know this sounds absurd, but all I can think to rationalize this idiocy was that my parents said we’d be switching to daylight savings time; to my eleven-year-old self, this “savings” could only mean “taking away,” so, it made sense to lose sleep by setting the clock even earlier. Did I ever mention that math has never been my strong point?

There I sat on the edge of my neatly-made bed, dressed in new spring pants, brightly green and white checked. It was the early ’70’s, after all. The house was so very, very quiet. Too much so, for the normal bustle of sending my Dad off to work and three kids off to school. “Where was everybody?” I’d wondered tiredly. After that, I never forgot the instructions to “Spring forward, Fall back!”

Fair-handed Spring. . .Throws out the snowdrop and the crocus first. Thomson — Spring. L. 529

Fast forward several decades, and I’m still sleepy. This time, however, I’m pretty sure I’ve got it figured out. It all has to do with solar flares. Supposedly, we are in the midst of one of the largest solar storms experienced in ten years. What this means is a blizzard of charged, ionic particles is wreaking havoc on everything we hold so dear: electronics, GPS systems, satellites, flight patterns and all that is computerized. Moreover, I’ve learned that ladybugs, as with most creatures, are attracted to the sun’s warmth. As I see it, that spells trouble.

Consider these facts.

First off, you have extra normal solar activity, which, if we were going to be logical about this whole horrific situation, would mean that it’s warmer outside than we’d typically expect for mid-March. Today the mercury hit 75 degrees. I’ll check that off my list.

Next, there’s an influx of ladybugs, or Coccinellidae, if you’d like to get picky about it, which have invaded my bathroom, uninvited. Initially, I didn’t mind so much, until I read further about them and learned that these so-called harmless insects are not quite as innocuous as one might think. Not only do they bite, Minnie Mouse’s mini-cousins can cause eye irritation and asthma. I’m having trouble taking a deep breath, just pondering it.

So, there you are. The proof is in the pudding, or, um, the bathroom. We are in the midst of an infestation of mutant, breath-sucking, sunburned bugs.

I’m beginning to hyperventilate, just thinking about it.

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3 Comments

  • Reply Judy March 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Beautiful Springtime has arrived in Louisiana. Should reach you soon. Judy

  • Reply Susan March 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    We’re just in from Hawaii this morning – jet lag compounded by Daylight savings time – I may be confused until June.

  • Reply Kate Struzenberg March 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Eloquent but simple- well done!

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