Multi-colored Asian lady beetle

The multicolored Asian lady beetle actually is a beneficial insect, but it attains case-by-cash pest status when it and numbers of its kind find their way into homes while seeking hibernation habitat.

If we had an Exotic Bug of the Month Club going, our offering for November might be the multicolored Asian lady beetle.

We won’t bother sending you one. You might well have a mess of them already, and if not yet possibly soon.

Last month it could have been the brown marmorated stinkbug. October was rife with them gathering on people’s windows as these accidental Asian imports were seeking places to hole up for the coming winter.

It is now becoming time for multicolored Asian lady beetles to do the same thing. I found and relocated my first one of the fall, a bedroom intruder, earlier this week.

These little beetles are easily confused with our native ladybugs, but our homegrown ladybugs never appear in major numbers as sometimes do the Asians seeking out quarters for a torpor-like hibernation.

These are flying bugs of about one-third of an inch long that, when they light, tuck their wings under solid-looking wing covers. Most are pumpkin orange, but colors range from yellow to red. Most are black spotted, as many as 19 spots, but the spots are faint on some and on others the spots are absent altogether.

Unnoticed most of the time, in the fall the little beetles often collect along sun-exposed bluffs or rock outcroppings as they seek out cracks and crevices in which to shelter from the winter. Here, they find similar attraction around sunny sides of buildings like your home.

They do not necessarily want to get into the interior of your home. That is warmer than they prefer for winter hibernation. Inside walls or crawl spaces or inside unheated outbuildings would suit them perfectly. But, alas, some do find themselves on the interior, to the considerable chagrin of

some people.

Asian lady beetles are not damaging to homes in any way, and they are not injurious to people. They don’t sting. Some folks swear that they have been pinched or bitten by lady beetles, but I have encountered bunches and never incurred their wrath. It should not be a concern.

One or two lady beetles indoors on your stuff is a non-issue. Just catch them by hand and boot them back outdoors. If you get a swarm of them inside, you might want to be a little more delicate.

Each little beetle bug, if assaulted by your big hand or swatted with an implement, can exude a tiny drop of fluid that smells a little bit (probably a defensive tactic), but what’s worse in homes is that it can stain fabrics like drapes and upholstery. Rather than risk that, if you get a bunch indoors, suck them up with a vacuum and then dispose as you see fit.

Asian lady beetles are not really “bad” bugs and are, indeed, beneficial. They eat crop-damaging aphids and the insects were imported here intentionally at first as an aphid counter measure for agricultural benefits.

That does not count the annoyance that some people experience when lady beetles come calling about this time of year, looking for shelter. It won’t last long, seriously cold weather in weeks ahead signaling an end to it.

But if you experience the lady beetles this fall, do not be shocked when they begin coming out of winter hiding in droves on some of the first warm days of early spring. They are checking in now, and come spring expect the opposite.

• Rabbit populations are at the annual high right about now, and some Kentucky rabbit hunters are already active — but not here, folks. Small game seasons for rabbits and bobwhite quail do not begin in western Kentucky until Nov. 16.

Rabbit and quail hunting has opened in Kentucky’s eastern small game zone, the opening date for those counties being Nov. 1. Western Kentucky’s bunnies and bobwhite are shielded until the Monday after the opening weekend of the modern firearms deer season, Nov. 14-15.

All small game hunting is closed during that gun deer season’s first weekend, but loads of activity fires up on that Monday of Nov. 16. Along with the rabbit and quail in the western zone, all other small game plus most furbearer hunting and trapping seasons kick in then.

Those activities will run concurrent with the ongoing gun deer season (through Nov. 29), so during that period, all small game and furbearer seekers active by day must wear fluorescent orange on head, chest and back to comply with safety requirements.

Oh, but if that later-opening rabbit and quail season in the west seems unfair, note that the comparable season in the east concludes Jan. 31. Western hunters, with the slower start, can continue those small game quests through Feb. 10.

• Hunters know that putting out grain to attract migratory birds is baiting and strictly prohibited. But they might not grasp that baiting can occur in another accidental form.

With waterfowl hunting ahead in Illinois, conservation officers with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are warning hunters to beware of locations where crops in fields have been damaged by numerous wildfires resulting from unusually dry conditions earlier in the fall. Hunting around these fire-damaged fields could be considered hunting over bait, conservation police say.

Fires around numerous fields have resulted in large amounts of grain being left on the ground there. Federal waterfowl regulations prohibit hunting around seeds or grains scattered unless it is the result of a normal agricultural practice.

While deposits of grain in fields because of fire are inadvertent, hunting in such situations is still considered baiting for the 2020-21 seasons — or until all grain left on the ground is removed.

Steve Vantreese is a freelance outdoors writer. Email outdoors news to outdoors@paducahsun.com or phone 270-575-8650.