Nuisance Bugs and Meteor Showers

 

I recently visited with a person who was fed up with the lady bugs (aka lady beetles) invading his house this fall.  What he didn’t realize, however, was that these were not the native lady bugs.  They were Asian lady beetles, sometimes called multicolored Asian lady beetles.

Asian lady beetles have been introduced both accidentally and intentionally on several occasions since the early 1900’s.  They showed up in North Dakota in the late 1990’s and have been making themselves at home ever since.  They have been searching for a nice warm place to spend the winter.  They pose no real danger, but they certainly can be a nuisance.  And if you are prone to stomping on them or smacking them on the upholstery, be aware that they have yellowish-orange body fluids that can permanently stain some surfaces.

I have also been hearing some complaints about the boxelder bugs.  They too are looking for a warm place to spend the winter.  And like the Asian lady beetles look for nooks and crannies into which they can enter a nice, warm place.  And although they do not bite, they too have body fluids that can stain surfaces.

If you venture out at night, however, you probably won’t see many lady beetles or boxelder bugs.  But you might see some falling stars.  The Leonid Meteor Shower started on the 6th and will continue through November 30.  The peak viewing period will come the evening of the 17th and early morning hours of the 18th.  The Leonids are known to produce around 15 meteors an hour during the peak period.  We are waning toward a new moon on the eighteenth, so if the sky is clear, viewing could be quite good.

Although the meteors may be observed anywhere in the sky, they will seem to have originated within the constellation Leo.  Leo, however, will not be fully visible in the sky until around midnight.  But of course, the meteors will be visible.

In fact, from now through December we will have lots of opportunities to see falling stars.  The Taurids Meteor Shower started in September and will continue until December 10.  The Geminids Meteor Shower will run from December 7-17.  Then from December 17-25 the Ursids Meteor Shower will put on a show. So if you like watching falling stars, this is a great time of year!

Chuck Lura

Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Dakota College at Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.

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