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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Do you know if they can save themselves

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QUESTION: Today my mom (age 88) saw two lady bugs sitting outside on the dining room windowsill and flung them off the windowsill and I want to know can a ladybug save itself by spreading its wings and flying if someone does what my mom did. What she did really upset me.

ANSWER: Dear Debbie - Most ladybird beetles (family Coccinellidae) are quite capable of flight; some for relatively long distances. Remember this nursery rhyme (http://tinyurl.com/lt43o5w)?

Hope this helps,
Saugy

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you.  I have another question. I rescued two ladybugs (not the ones my mom flicked off the ledge). The two I rescued are safe in a home I created for them. I am feeding them small amounts of sugar, however, they arent drinking or moving around.  They are perfectly still, color is great. How can I tell if they are dead or alive?

Answer
Dear Debbie - Try warming them very gently, such as holding them in your cupped hand for a minute or so. If you still see no movement, place them on their backs and use a toothpick or similar object to probe a leg just a tiny bit. If this does not cause spontaneous movement on their part, they most likely are dead. If they still are alive, see http://tinyurl.com/njnyjxy for some tips on keeping them healthy.

Hope this helps,
Saugy

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad

Expertise

Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.

Experience

21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Organizations
Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

Publications
American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

Education/Credentials
B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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