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Re: E-M:/ Re: Lady Beetles

Enviro-Mich message from tobler <wtobler@tdi.net>

> Add to my previous question as to their environmental affect, why
> do they bite? Are they feeding and, if so, on what?
> --Rane L. Curl

I've wondered the same thing.  They don't seem to be equipped to suck
blood or even feed on flesh.  I should leave one who's biting me alone
long enough to see what comes next - and to watch it through a
magnifying glass.  I've never bled from a bite, but I often react with
several minutes of itching.  

It's interesting to watch them bite the horses who now are hairing up
for winter.  The beetles have to burrow head first through the animal's
coat, since they lack the the typical flesh eater's protuberances. 
Horse hide is tough, especially on the upper rump, and these buggers are
capable of biting deeply enough to make the horse feel it and react.  

When they first began biting me in the house, I wondered if they were
simply taste testing since they found themselves in a unnatural
environment that didn't offer whatever it is they need.  But this newest
development of them seeking out the horses blows that theory out the

I also want to know why they don't have any natural predators, if indeed
they don't.  Why wouldn't birds, toads, mice, etc relish them as much as
any other beetle?

BTW, they swarmed our vegetable garden this summer and I caught them
eating the flesh of our pole beans and raspberries, although not
nearly to the extent as the Japanese Beetles.  Now *there's* an
environmental plague of the past two years in southern Michigan.

Wendy Tobler

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