Halloween beetles: no treat

Halloween beetleLast year, as the cold weather moved into Iowa City, we noticed a collection of small, polka-dotted beetles congregating on our kitchen ceiling. They looked like orange ladybugs, so we considered them harmless guests and let them be.

But then they started to multiply.

And multiply.

And multiply some more.

They collected in the kitchen light fixture. They dropped onto our dinner plates while we ate. They crawled on our shoulders and, once, Steve woke up to discover one crawling in his armpit.

Yes. Armpit. When bugs are getting into our bed, it’s game over.

We combated them the old-fashioned way: with paper towels and a quick squish between the fingers. They kept on coming, dying in the windowsills for months, but at least we kept them enough at bay that they stayed in the kitchen and living room.

In October last year, the Iowa City Press-Citizen ran an article about them. It turns out they are officially called multicolored Asian lady beetles, but they’re also more commonly known as Halloween bugs because this time of year is when they traditionally begin their annual population explosion.

I noticed one earlier this month out in the garden, and they’re back inside already. It ought to be fun at Thanksgiving…I expect we’ll end up with one backstroking in the cranberry sauce, another floating around in the gravy, and maybe two or three garnishing the turkey.

In the meantime, boo.

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11 Responses to “Halloween beetles: no treat”


  1. 1 kitchenparade October 31, 2006 at 7:41 am

    Ha! So they’re not ladybugs? What you don’t learn, some times! My garage is home to some of those shield bugs this time of year … better than the colony of shoe-sized crickets.

  2. 2 Valbee October 31, 2006 at 9:59 am

    I’ve never heard them called Halloween bugs here in Ohio, but then it seems like they usually get really bad before then. What I hate about them most is that they seem to attack. You could be standing their minding your own business when suddenly one launches itself at you. And they hurt when they hit! Good luck keeping them out of the gravy!

  3. 4 Laura Rebecca October 31, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks for the info! I’ve been noticing these guys out and about, too, and now I know what they are!

  4. 5 inadvertentgardener October 31, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    Alanna, I always thought they were ladybugs, too…just some orange variety. No such luck…but yes, way better than shoe-sized or spider crickets.

    Valbee, they do attack! And they stink when they die. It’s bizarre…and a little disgusting.

    Happy Halloween to you, too, Nicole!

    Laura Rebecca, happy to be of service.

    Have a good Halloween Night, everyone!
    :-) Genie

  5. 6 cole November 1, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    That is so weird…my son JUSt brought me a lady bug he found in his room right before I looked at y our blog entry. dododododododododododo (twilight zone musci)

  6. 7 bloglily November 1, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    Oh my, Genie — who knew? Here we have earwigs, which are horrible looking, but as far as I know they don’t launch or smell. Good luck getting them to move into somebody else’s house.

  7. 8 Carol November 1, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    I think in some cultures, a lady bug in your house is considered good luck, or is that a cricket in your house that means good luck? Anyway, good look with your infestation.

  8. 9 inadvertentgardener November 2, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    Cole, we’re on the same buggy wavelength, clearly!

    Bloglily, I’d rather have Halloween beetles any day over earwigs. Or silverfish. I hate silverfish, too. Blech. I know earwigs don’t launch or smell, but I’m still afraid one’s going to get me with its pincers…

    Carol, I think lady bugs are good lucks in some cultures, and crickets in others, or maybe both in all? Who knows. Something worth investigating, though, perhaps!

  9. 10 Lydia November 3, 2006 at 8:26 am

    I’d take all of your Halloween bugs if you’d take the stink bugs that are crawling into my log house at this time of year. I don’t know the proper name for them, but stink bugs are ones that look prehistoric, buzz loudly when they fly, and smell like rotten eggs when you squish them. They seem to like the taller perennials in the garden at this time of year, but mostly they try to come inside to nest. Horrible! So bring on the Halloween bugs!

  10. 11 inadvertentgardener November 5, 2006 at 12:52 am

    Lydia, you’re definitely right…you win on the gross bug front! I have no interest in a house full of stink bugs…


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