Wednesday, 13 January 2010

You Give Them Somewhere to Live and This is How They Repay You...

Shortly after my masculinity was thrown into question by a mere ladybird my room was invaded by even more of them. Because I now knew their identity I let them go about their business because everyone knows ladybirds are a friendly bunch. The very same day I was on the way to my local Tescos in Highgate when I came across a massive swarm of them on a street corner. I have never in my life seen such a sight. And it was highly inconvenient - I had to walk on the road to avoid them. I was later informed that there'd been an invasion of Asian ladybirds in Britain. I took this information and did nothing with it. A couple of days later I woke up to find at least 13 ladybirds having a snooze at the top of my curtains. I shrugged and left them to it.

This was in September.

Come November they were still wandering about and it was getting to the point where I was growing quite fond of them and able to tell some of them apart. I distinctly remember wondering if perhaps there was something wrong with the way my brain was wired.

Towards the end of November I went to The Wrestlers pub with my friend Al who lives down the road. One of the ladybirds decided he wanted to come along and I noticed him wandering about on my scarf and stupidly drew Al's attention to it. I felt a bit embarrassed - I was like the pigeon lady in Mary Poppins but with ladybirds instead of filthy ones.

Back in my bedroom I accidentally broke one's wings by not seeing it and squashing it with my Johnny Vegas monkey (an excellent boyfriend substitute as his arms are really heavy so you get great hugs without the hassle that would come if he were real). I was in tears because I knew I'd have to put it out of its misery. I was sat there eyes brimming saying out loud, "I'm really sorry, please forgive me" as, after waiting for ten minutes hoping it would recover, I squished it in a tissue. I felt shaken for some time afterwards.

In December things turned nasty. I started waking up covered in bites and in the most inconvenient places (wrists, ankles etc.). At first I thought it was because I'd had the window open and that mosquitoes had got in. But then I decided it was a bit cold for that. My next thought was that it was bedbugs which quite frankly is my worst nightmare. There's something really grim about the thought of something coming out of your bed and having a feast on your feet whilst you're getting a bit of shut eye. I couldn't work out why they would suddenly start biting though and my sheets were clean so there was something not quite adding up. And as a ladybird wandered past I came to the conclusion that I'd rather it was them biting me than bedbugs.

Perhaps they were getting me back for the tissue-squishing incident.

I was told that ladybirds don't bite people but when, two nights after receiving a particular bite, it swelled up ridiculously and I came down with a migraine, dizziness and nausea I thought I should look up ladybird bites on the internet. It turns out that the ladybirds in my room were indeed the Asian ladybirds who've invaded Britain. They're called Harlequin ladybirds and are known for getting all up in our ladybirds' faces and invading our houses. Word on internet street is that when food runs out they will start to bite humans. This made me happy and sad at the same time: happy that it wasn't bedbugs but sad that the LBs had turned on me. On a whim I put an over-ripe banana out for them and wasn't bitten again. I wonder whether I should be offended that they'd rather eat a bruised piece of fruit than me.

On Saturday just gone I was taking down my curtains getting ready for my move home and found out that not only do they use the top of the curtains as their bedroom but as their toilet as well. It was COVERED in tiny little poos. They were like minuscule versions of human poos. I felt like I'd found really disgusting treasure. I was quite surprised that over the whole period of their stay with me I never saw any of that yellow stuff they do. Do you remember being little and picking them up and thinking that they'd weed on you? Well I don't know if you know this but apparently that's actually blood - it's their way of playing dead so they don't get eaten.

I don't know about you but I feel like I've learnt a lot.


  1. Sonia,
    You are a genius! I was right there with you. This blog is quite significant for me, not only because its so well written I can feel your pain, but moreover because i've suffered both an invasion of bedbugs, in the house before last, and i've also been bitten by a ladybird i was trying to help.

    And...i keep getting bitten in my university halls bed! Nothing as bad as nausea and migranes though, you poor thing. I completely empathise with the amazingness and at the same time horrificness that can only be insect infiltration. Everybody else is going about their business, shrugging off your struggle, because its your's and not their's. You want to be going about your business, too, but simply can't, because there's a constant reminder that after all's said and done, we're still animals, and other animals still want to eat us. Which is not compatible with a stock exchange job, or working in Sainsbury's, or being a bus driver. Because all of these things are in the material world. Until you've suffered at the hands of mother nature's wild side, you can never understand this.

    I am with you sister. We should make a hand signal like the raised fist they used to use for Black Power. Maybe cup our hands to illustrate the wings of a ladybird! Open and shut our palms like its talking.

    Know this, dear Sonia, you survived. We survived. We are