Andi Cumbo - Writer, Editor, Online Writing Courses, Classes & Lessons

Stinkbugs and Ladybugs – Enemies and Allies

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I have committed a ladybug massacre. By my back door, hundreds of dead ladies lie, some with wings spread, some with legs in the air, some on their bellies – little beads of red sheen.  If I think about them too long, I get teary.

I’m not a ladybug enthusiast. In fact, I find the ladybug clothes and bags and earrings a little too cute for my personal taste. But I do love the creatures themselves. They are one of the few bugs that does not elicit a trepidatious first reaction in me.  In fact, I love to pick them up and let them crawl on me.

So seeing them dead by my door, yeah, it’s sad.

They died off because I asked Dad to spray for stinkbugs.  The stinkbugs died, but now the spray lingers, and the ladybugs go after.

To me – an insect novice – there is no marked difference in these creatures. Neither of them attacks; both of them simply crawl to warmth and live there, spindle legs carrying them across the ceiling.  But I hate stinkbugs.

It’s simply how I was taught – ladybugs are cute and serve a purpose in the garden. Stinkbugs smell bad and have no purpose that I can identify. So I love the one and hate the other. It’s rather arbitrary all in all.

The thing about stinkbugs – they only stink when they are afraid.

***

Last night, as I listened to the debate on my way across the mountains, I wondered how some countries came to be allies of the United States and some enemies.  Of course, there are the reasons we say – democracy, and human rights, and strategic positioning – but these reasons do not seem complete. After all, we are allies with nations that have terrible human rights records, and we are enemies (or at least apathetic neighbors) with nations who have solid democracies in place and functioning.

I wonder if it isn’t like ladybugs and stinkbugs. We decide something is bad. So it is. Even if it’s far weaker than we are.

I wonder if in the process of killing off our perceived enemies, we don’t kill off our perceived friends, too.

Maybe “love your enemies” has more to do with calling out our own judgments than we think.

***

Today, I will vacuum up carcasses, hundreds of them.  I will find the umber carapaces and red-fringed wings of stinkbugs among the polka dotted shells of ladybugs.  All beautiful.  All killed because I decided some were not wanted and some were.

 

 

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Author: Andi

I am a writer, editor, and writing teacher whose most recent book, The Slaves Have Names, tells the story of the people who were enslaved on the plantation where I was raised. When I'm not working, my husband and I are working to make our small farm - God's Whisper Farm - a retreat here at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • Brock

    Wait, your dad found something to kill stinkbugs? Please give me his number so I can find out how to get rid of them bugs! GREAT post!! As always!

    • http://www.andilit.com Andi

      I don’t recommend his method, Brock. It involves a pretty heavy duty pesticide, and if I hadn’t had hundreds of stinkbugs in my house every day, I wouldn’t have done it. Even now, I wish I hadn’t.

      Thanks for reading and for the compliment on the post.
      Andi recently posted…Much Of Obedience Is WaitingMy Profile

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com LarryTheDeuce

    I think sometimes the enemy of our enemy becomes our ally, although they probanly hate us too.
    I spray with something called Viper to keep the lady bugs out of my house. Seems to be working.
    LarryTheDeuce recently posted…I Almost QuitMy Profile

  • Tammy Helfrich

    Beautiful post.
    Tammy Helfrich recently posted…5 Ways to Enjoy the Process MoreMy Profile

  • http://www.universeocean.com Tim

    I like your connection between bugs (their unintentional inclusion in the fumigation process) and what we perceive to bad, Andi. But really I just love that you used the word “trepidatious.” ;)

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