Freeing the Ladybugs

Ladybugs don’t belong inside. Nothing I’ve read so far reports on this habit of theirs, but I’ve noticed that sometimes Ladybugs apparently find a way inside a house to lay eggs (or the larvae crawl in), and then, when these hatch, can’t find their way out again. Too often I find their sad little dried out exoskeletons in a windowsill, inches away from freedom and whatever they had planned for their lives. Eating aphids? Probably. Spawning? Surely.

The last few days have involved painting the area around certain windows in preparation for removing the nasty old blinds that came with the house and replacing them with clean modern shades. Which has dictated a lot of time futzing around windowsills, and finding the ladybugs congregating there in twos and threes or whatever. So I have to pause whatever I’m doing and free them. I used to do the same thing at my old place of work, again in the spring when they start hatching out. It’s kind of annoying, really, and the ladybugs aren’t usually cooperative, but I have the compulsion. I probably don’t do a lot of good. Maybe it does no harm.

I think of the story of two people walking along a beach where thousands of starfish have been washed up in a storm. As they walk, one paused to pick up a still-living starfish and toss it back into the sea. “Wait a minute,” says the other. “There are many thousands of starfish here. Do you really think that made a difference?” The first just shrugs. “Sure made a difference to that one.”

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