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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Small brown hard shell bug?

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Question
Hello, I've been troubled by these bugs that gather on my wrap around porch and like to hang out on my flowers, plants, and mostly under their pots. The flowers are mums, if that's relevant. I wouldn't say the bug is entirely round, bc it flattens a little on lower half. And I wouldn't say it's entirely brown ever. Upon closer inspection it looks a little off white pattern. I think it's a type of beetle. It is hard shelled. And when stepped or smooshed leaves a noticeable stain and smell. They don't seem to cause any harm really, however my mums all did die quickly, but I'm not a green thumb.
Then today I have a crazy migration of Asian lady beetles, hundreds swarming my porch. I did my research online about this and look at the pics of the black ones and it does not look like the critters I'm plagued by. I live in the southeast USA, cullman, Alabama. Hope this is enough info. Thanks

Answer
Mamie:

I'm sorry, but this is not enough information to go on.  The Asian lady beetles are responding to fall temperatures and beginning to gather for winter hibernation.

I'm having a problem developing a mental image of the other insects you're describing.

If you have any pictures, please send them.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Nathan Riggs

Expertise

I currently live in San Antonio, TX and have expertise in identifying insects, many types of spiders, and other arthropod critters that infest lawns, ornamentals, structures, trees, pets and livestock. Mites are not a strong point of mine. I'm not a licensed doctor, so I cannot provide medical diagnosis of conditions possibly related to insects or other arthropods. If you've got an interesting photo for me to see, attach it to your question, or let me know and I'll give you my email so the picture will get to me. If you have hosted an insect photo on a website, please include the link so I can go look at it and provide a faster ID for you. You may also join my group page on Facebook and post your picture at www.facebook.com/groups/antmans.hill/.

Experience

22+ years' experience as an entomologist: 5 years as a biologist with Merck Animal Health (I was part of the R&D team that worked to develop FrontLine flea and tick products) and 7 years as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist in San Antonio, Texas with Texas Cooperative Extension.

Publications
Veterinary Parasitology, Southwestern Entomologist, San Antonio Express News, San Antonio Gardener Newsletter, Master Gardener SCION Newsletter, GardenStyleSA e-Newsletter

Education/Credentials
BS - Entomology from Texas A&M University in 1992.

Board Certified Entomologist, 1996-2000 - Medical and Veterinary Entomology Specialty (Entomological Society of America)

Awards and Honors
2000 Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor's Award in Excellence for leadership on the Texas Fire Ant Program Educational Team.

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