The Asian Lady Beetle
December 29, 2010 § 3 Comments
I’ve had a pet ladybug for a few days. It came out of nowhere, flying by my computer in a blur and landing on the ceiling. I immediately grabbed a tissue to kill the pest, but when I climbed onto my chair and discovered that it was a ladybug [actually I think it’s of those ladybug lookalikes], I got cold feet. Disposing of any kind of insect is usually not a problem for me [I HATE bugs in the house], but I just can’t bring myself to kill ladybugs. So I trapped it in an empty water bottle instead while trying to decide what to do with it.
When my mom came upstairs, I waved the bottle at her and said, “I caught a ladybug.”
“Well, throw it away,” she replied.
“It’s still alive,” I added.
“Oh,” she said, walking away. “Well it wouldn’t last very long outside anyway.”
Not very helpful. So I brought it back into my room and set it on the desk next to me, examining the little creature as it explored the interior of the bottle. It was so small yet intricate, and as I stared, I could feel a one-sided bond forming. Thus, I decided to keep it as a pet. Then again, when there’s no consent given from the so-called pet, what’s the difference between a pet and a prisoner?
I haven’t given the ladybug a name [I don’t even name my stuffed animals], but I send it good feelings every time I pass it while walking in and out of my room. Sometimes it crawls around on the sides, sometimes it sits on the bottom, and other times the bottle looks empty, and I know that the ladybug is sitting in the darkness right underneath the cap. I surmise that it’s sleeping.
The water bottle had a bit of water still inside, so the ladybug has something to drink if it wants. Apparently these things eat aphids and larvae, which is your fun fact of the day. Without anything to eat, it will probably starve to death soon, which I’m trying not to think about. I have necrophobia, which is the fear of dead things — seriously, I’m more afraid of dead spiders than live ones — and I definitely don’t want a dead pet on my hands.
Occasionally I hear a very slight thud coming from the water bottle, which indicates that the poor thing is flying around in that constricted space. I wish I could let it fly freely, but not enough to liberate it in the house. And if I put it outside, it will most likely freeze within hours — after all, isn’t that why it came inside in the first place? [Unless we have a large brood of delicious larvae somewhere that I don’t know about..]
I suppose the larger question that I’m pondering is whether I have any right to take a being captive, even a tiny insect, and decide what’s best for it. This is one of the reasons I’m reluctant to own a real pet. To keep a dog on a leash or a cat in a house…I wonder if they are truly content that way.