Half a Notion

by Midge Houghtaling

Aaahhh, spring! Winter is finally over and spring has arrived. With it comes the sound of lawn mowers and children’s laughter… trees budding, flowers popping up everywhere and… ladybugs!

I remember a time when it was exciting to find one–

Hey! Look, a LADYBUG! I admired their bright red backs speckled with little black dots… so decorative. Ladybugs were rare in those days. Back then we averaged maybe one or two sightings per year. When I came upon one I would gently coax it onto my finger and then my sister and I recited poetry until it took flight. Remember?

Ladybug, ladybug fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All but one, and her name is Ann,
She’s hiding under a frying pan.

It was actually really neat if the ladybug acted on cue and flew away just after the last line. Sometimes you had to blow on them a little to let them know that it was time.

But now they’re everywhere. Hundreds (perhaps millions) of them inhabit my house, the camper and the shed… and clearly the magic is gone.

On a warm spring day in Potter County it’s not unusual to see two… maybe three hundred of them congregating around my sliding glass doors, basking in the morning sun and trying to figure a way into my home.

No one that I’ve talked to really seems to know why they want in. Are they curious? Are they seeking shelter? Or do they derive some thrill in hiking across our television screens while we’re trying to watch our favorite programs?

A few days ago my husband took action and sprayed Green Giant flying insect killer around the cracks and crevices of all our doors and windows. Ladybugs fly– so it makes perfect sense. They’re still coming in but they have to crawl over the flying insect killer. It’s apparently very toxic so I find their tiny carcasses lying dead on my windowsill every morning. I have to say it’s a welcome change.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m a cruel person. I really am not. Last spring my grandson had one of them flipped over on its backside and was poking it with the sword from one of his Power Rangers.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“When you turn ‘em over they can’t walk and they can’t fly,” he announced.

“Honey, that’s kind of mean.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said…smiling sweetly.

“So, you need to quit torturing the poor thing and get washed up for supper,” I said.

Reluctantly, he flipped the ladybug back onto its tiny feet and headed for the sink in the bathroom. When he wasn’t looking I scooped it up with a tissue and flushed it down the toilet– it was quick, painless and far more dignified than being impaled by Power Ranger.

Yes, spring is here again. The days are getting longer and temperatures are on the rise. Next month our utility bills will be lower. Somehow, it does my heart good to see green grass. Springtime is a time to love, in spite of the rain, in spite of the mud… in spite of annoying little bugs.

Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page


  1. Diane says:

    Midge is a great writer – I love her work!!

  2. Sue says:

    I hear ya, Midge.

  3. Debbie says:

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Ken says:

    I love lady bugs and would trade them any day over the hoards of mosquitos that now trap me in my Florida home nightly. Tell the Power Rangers their efforts would be much more appreciated down south!

Leave a Comment