What’s Black and Red and Crawling All Over?

Alan C. Chiu

The cutest infestation ever!

Harvard has a swarm of Japanese visitors, but they’re not who you would expect.

The Asian Lady Beetle, more commonly referred to as the ladybug, has replaced scabies as the infestation du jour in both the River and the Quad, taking up residence primarily in Leverett, Mather and Currier Houses.

“They are a nuisance (they come inside this time of year to find a nice warm spot to overwinter), but they are not a problem unless you inadvertently eat them!” Hessel Professor of Biology Naomi E. Pierce, one of two professors of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 155r: The Biology of Insects, writes in an e-mail.

But overcrowded students don’t need to worry about accommodating these new roommates around the clock. “Once the lights go off they kind of disappear,” says Melissa M. Garcia ’09, who is currently playing host to a swarm of ladybugs.

This now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t behavior isn’t necessarily a good thing, as it leaves little room for meaningful attachments. “They don’t stay in my room long enough to be named,” Garcia says. “If there was one that I kept around in my room, I’m sure I would.”

Information provided by Pierce indicates that the ladybugs should vacate the dorms soon. Until then, students will have to fend for themselves against the tiny intruders.

So far, the ladybugs have proved to be worthy adversaries, using their best weapon of defense to keep their numbers up: cuteness.

“They’re not disgusting, they’re just everywhere,” says Garcia. “I feel too guilty killing them.” And this just when you thought cuteoverload.com was the cutest cute could get