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ISSUE 119 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/14/2005

Asian beetles invade campus: Learn techniques to combat bug infestation

By Kirstin Fawcett
Contributing Writer


Friday, October 14, 2005

When I think of scary Asian things, it is not thoughts of deadly diseases or insane dictators that keep me awake at night. I’m simply afraid to close my eyes for fear that I will wake up at daybreak covered in a blanket of Asian beetles.

The invasion of the Asian beetles began innocuously enough. When I opened my window, I saw a yellow-orange insect scuttle across the screen. I assumed it was a lady bug, and let it go about its business. I would later regret not killing it, for the bug would decide that my room was a safe haven and therefore return several days later with about two hundred of its closest friends.

The Asian beetles were soon everywhere. They coated my walls. They had a mini rave going on in my lampshade. I even found one floating in my fish bowl.

It was then that I decided to take the offensive. Some say that killing bugs is bad for your karma. I say these people are wrong. Thus, the war against the Asian beetles began.

I started by making a fortress out of duct tape around my window, sealing off all cracks that would potentially lead to a future invasion. I sprayed all living bugs with Oust, hoping that the foul creatures would somehow be allergic to the smell of roses. The stench of crushed beetle soon permeated the room.

Just when I thought I had gotten rid of all the bugs, another would crawl up my arm and bite me. I would later learn that Asian beetles do not bite, but instead burrow into skin in search of aphids. Somehow, the knowledge did not make me feel better.

From the various shrieks and intermittent swear words that I soon heard echoing out of other people’s rooms, I came to realize that they too were at war with the Asian beetles. My JCs would eventually tell me that the beetles were a scourge of every residence hall, and that nothing could completely get rid of them apart from cold weather.

However, that wasn't good enough for me. Drastic measures had to be taken immediately against the enemy. So, if you find yourself frustrated as well, here are the answers to some common questions that you might have about the dreaded Asian beetles.

How did the beetles come to the United States?

In the early nineteenth century, the beetles were released in various locations across the United States as a biological control agent. (Asian beetles are predators that eat numerous pests such as aphids, scale, insects and other pests that are damaging to horticulture.) Because the Asian beetle was never recovered after this release, the government came to the conclusion that they had died out, due to incompatibility with North American conditions.

What kinds of damage can the Asian beetles cause?

Asian beetles primarily annoy, due to their tendency to congregate in walls, windows and ceilings by the thousands. They also exude a bitter, smelly aroma, especially when they are crushed. Don’t worry; contrary to popular belief, the smell of crushed beetles does not attract more. This odor is a protective chemical to keep predators away.

Some people may experience allergic reactions to the bug’s defensive excretions. Exposure to Asian beetles also can cause sinus and skin irritations. One might also feel a biting sensation if an Asian beetle lands on his or her skin. The beetle is not attacking you, but merely looking for food. (That fact still doesn’t make me feel any better.)

How do I get rid of them?

Assuming that you don’t want to asphyxiate your roommate, I would avoid using chemical spray. Glues traps tend to work well, as does my cheaper, easier method of choice: duct tape. Asian beetles can crawl through extremely small spaces or cracks in the wall, so use duct tape around your window frames and screens. Duct tape is also good for catching the stray beetles that somehow manage to penetrate your duct tape fortress. Simply tear off a length, adhere it to the bug, fold the duct tape over, and throw it in the trash. Problem solved.

Hopefully, this information helps to banish your fears about such a treacherous foe. And if not, you’ll have to stick it out until winter.





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