For most of my childhood years spent playing outdoors, ladybugs were a rare find. They were most often seen as a printed image on the page of a zoology textbook, but seldom seen in nature.
And then, sometime in the early 2000's, probably around the same time when I was typing "WAZZZAAAAPPP???" into my AIM away message box, it happened.
A swarm reminiscent of the Exodus-provoking Egyptian plague descended upon Eastern Kentucky. Hundreds and hundreds of these ladybugs banging into my windows, just like all the other ladies in town.
There was no accounting for why this apocalyptic cloud of lady bugs decided to set up their gross little reproduction nests all over the Daniel Boone National Forest. One rumor had it that these ladybugs were actually deadly predators imported from Asia to destroy some other dangerous insect threat. As it turns out, they were destroying much more than insect populations.
These little bugs were everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Like, fly into every orifice of your vehicle level of everywhere-ness. And in the winter, they would live along the outside of your windows, trying to leech some small amount of heat as the temperature began to sink below freezing. Ladybugs became a great way to determine where the gaps in your insulation were. Spoiler: there are gaps everywhere. The little space in between the glass and the screen quickly filled up with dead and dying ladybugs. And for the ones who got inside safely? They would fly up into the light fixture thinking they are getting close to the sun before dying an unceremonious death, with their chitinous bodies preserved in that spherical sarcophagus for weeks at a time, to the extent of occluding the passage of light.
I hate them and their gross little undersides with those overly articulated legs. I hate the way they drop onto your burger during every single cookout. And I hate the way they smell when you vacuum them up by the hundreds. Ugh.
Admittedly, lady bugs still have some charm and appeal. At least enough for me to make this piece.