The Buzz: The Asian Beetle Swarm of '15

This Halloween, the spookiest thing on campus wasn’t a ghost, witch, or ghoul - it was the ungodly amount of Asian beetles that seemed to all swarm Gambier at once one crisp fall day.

Upperclassmen may know the drill, but for freshmen, the invasion was a complete - and very unwelcome - surprise. Rumors spread almost as quickly as the bugs themselves did: they bit, they were poisonous, killing them only attracted more. With the added burden of separating the true from the false, the task of removing the beetles from my dorm room suddenly seemed much more daunting.

Some Freshmen were more confused than others.

 

Thankfully, after talking to a few upperclassmen and a few Google searches, I have been able to successfully keep the bugs out of my room since the initial surge. In the process, I also learned a few fun facts about the bugs that will be keeping us company on the Hill for the next several months.

 

Are they ladybugs? Asian beetles? The spawn of Satan?

One of the biggest questions surrounding the bugs was, what exactly are they? Those who said they were ladybugs are, in a way, correct: they are a species of ladybeetle known as the Halloween ladybeetle because that’s around the time that they seek shelter in homes for the winter.

 

Do they bite? Are they poisonous?

They are not poisonous, but they are known to bite upon provocation. The bite can be irritating, but if you are bitten, you should be fine.

 

How can I kill them without attracting more?

Unfortunately, the rumor that squashing a bug attracts more bugs is true. The beetles often gather in large numbers for the winter, and they release pheromones in order to attract others. When agitated, they produce a foul smell - I know from experience - that can alert other beetles nearby. To avoid unwillingly inviting beetles to spend the night in your room as well as a truly awful smell, vacuuming up any beetles you have should work well.

 

How can I prevent them in the first place?

Keeping your windows shut is a good idea - they’re attracted to the heat from sunlight as well as the mesh that is often outside of windows.

 

Hopefully with these tips, by Thanksgiving you can be thankful for a bug-free dorm room!

 

Image sources: Hannah Bryan, Epestsupply.com