Who turned the thermostat up and where did all those ladybugs come from?

I could dig my shorts back out of the bottom drawer! Always a wonderful gift a few days of heat. The clouds have moved back in today but they’ll be gone again soon, no snow, no freezing temperatures, I think everything in nature is doing a little happy dance. I could do without the ticks, when I find one crawling on me I literally feel things for hours, crawling on me…yikes! Welcome to Canada! Land of bugs!

I’m not a bug-a-phobe by any means. I find them fascinating but I was surprised to learn these ladybugs, the hundreds of ladybugs invading the house and trailer currently, bite. So much for my ill conceived notions of the goodness of all those red and black spotted beetles. Its scientific name is Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) multicolored Asian lady beetle. The beetle is native to Asia (e.g. China, Russia, Korea, Japan), where it dwells in trees and fields, preying on aphids and scale insects. But these guys bite and secrete a stinky liquid ((volatile compounds used in defense against bird and other vertebrate predators) but are not dangerous, according to the news…not dangerous, holy fuck, a killer ladybug, is that what someone thought? and no, they don’t predict the weather or what kind of winter we’re going to have they are simply looking for some warmth and protection. Aren’t we all? and why are they here? During the 1960s to 1990s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture attempted to establish the Asian lady beetle to control agricultural pests, especially for pecans and apples. Large numbers of the beetles were released in several states including Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. Someone it seemed had a “great idea”.

In Baja in November they would gather in the oak forests along the creek in the sun, hundreds and hundreds, clinging to the branches and rocks, looking as well, for that last bit of warmth. I’m no Buddhist but as long as you’re not crawling around in my bra, you might be a tick, I’ll keep putting you back outside when I can, if you start to bite, you’ll be staring Mr. Vacuum down soon!

If that is our only worry in life, I think we got off lucky!

Apparently my bird population prefers sunflowers seeds to ladybugs, something about that stinky liquid they excrete, like eating liver…I totally get it! Ha! They are madly taking seed, eating and storing it, I warned them, profit now or wait until March!

The November browns and grays have arrived as the leaves litter the forest floor. They are starting to crunch under foot. I don’t rake my lawn, we leave the leaf litter to decompose and provide shelter for the the many bugs that use it to overwinter. It makes soil as it slowly decomposes, it happens so quickly. Throw in a bit of moisture and we have the makings of new earth! There are one or two trees that are climate deniers…just kidding, they just are not ready to let go of their fabulous coats of leaves. I can see a stubborn paper birch down the lake flaunting it’s colour. There’s one in every crowd! The oaks are the last holdouts as well, especially the younger ones sprouting from the forest floor, they are bright red, the older oaks have now all turned brown as the forest fades away. The late day sun makes them more colourful than they are, everyday there are a few less leaves.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it! This yellow guy is outstanding in the crowds of browns!

Most ladybugs enter diapause over winter, a state similar to hibernation. They overwinter as adults, becoming active when the weather warms in spring so throwing them out the door probably isn’t the nicest thing to do but I’m not nice today, I just picked another one out of my bra, yes it’s a warm spot, no you are not welcome to spend the winter there. Even the cats ignore them now, yeah, red bug, whatever. I feel guilty, somewhat about leaving the longest winter months behind us but I have missed my brother. I don’t have a lot of family left so I am looking forward to seeing them again, maybe I should have asked if they want to see me! Ha! I will shower them with ladybugs in diapause if they are cranky!

I will miss this view, I’m already looking forward to coming home:) Saludos amigos!

Early morning mists winding their way through the pines

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