A ladybug circumnavigates the rim of a glass house for dead insects — longhorns, scarabs, a stag beetle, a rhinoceros beetle, each at least as big as a finger, if not a fat thumb, & shiny as gemstones. The ladybug is a small red capsule: potent medicine. Her dogged way of walking suggests a certain brittleness, a gift for sudden, unprovoked rage. She goes around the case once, twice, then doubles back and tries it counter-clockwise. The wooden rim is wide enough for two ladybugs to pass each other without touching, as sometimes happens, though not this particular afternoon. She’s alone. Outside, it’s October in all the colors of her tribe. She raises her elytra & lifts off on wings veined like translucent leaves, which carry her up the ceiling as if trying to fly back to their crystal tree.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. Don’t shoot me but there’s a typo: shiny as gemstones or a gemstone? Funny, I’ve just been writing about gems too but not as ladybugs. I love ladybugs, they are probably the only insect I really embrace…..oh and crickets. I know, I’m such a girlie. But great writing.


  2. Oh, thanks for the typo catch!

    I think you would like most of the beetles in this case. Beetles tend to be charismatic (if not always as cute as ladybugs) with the exception of rove beetles, which are kind of creepy.


  3. Good sense of a ladybug in the fall, caught in the warmth of a house.

    We’ve had them swarm inside, before weatherproofing our house a little better. They are strange in swarm, slow and deliberate. I always felt bad tossing them outside.


  4. Yes, the species I was writing about here, the Halloween ladybug, is so named because of the approximate time of its massing indoors in the northeast U.S., where it’s an alien invasive species. We’ve had them by the thousands in years past, but last year their numbers are way down, and we’re hoping that’s the case again year – for one thing because many native ladybug species have disappeared, having been out-competed by the invaders.


  5. No, though on bad outbreak years, I do take the magic wand of the vaccuum cleaner to them without any compunction.


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