Imagine sitting outside on a warm day, enjoying a nice glass of lemonade and something buzzes past your head and … Swat! It’s dead! How many times have an insect or bug crossed your path and some unknown blinding force has compelled you to kill it? I think it is safe to say that most of us have reacted to flying and crawling creatures at some time in this manner. Whether this reaction is brought on by some sense of irrational fear or imagined horror story that the creature is going to swallow us whole, it has become quite common for humans to kill creatures that disturb our immediate environment. When these creatures bug us or invade what we deem as valuable then we consider them a pest. This is not their intention; they are just trying to survive like the rest of us, in a very competitive world.
I grew up with the appreciation of all creatures great and small. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve killed my fair share of mosquitoes, roaches and flies. My justification like many others is I am allergic to the mosquitoes, roaches are gross and flies totally annoy me. This blog is not intended as a guilt trip or to reprimand you because you kill spiders and ants. My point is to broaden the perception of these creatures that are vastly deemed as expendable and worthless. Many of the buzzing, flying and crawling critters have a very important job to do for the environment. Some examples: bees and butterflies pollinate and are food makers, dung beetles compost, ants and termites recycle, silk moths make silk and worms filter and amend the soil. But the question then arises “Are they pests or are they beneficial?” Well it depends. Termites in a house can cause extensive damage, but termites in a forest contribute to the health of the forest. A bee sting can hurt temporarily or could even kill a person who is extremely allergic; however as pollinators they are the cause for much of our natural food production.
In conclusion, perhaps we should view these little ones with a greater perspective and not take their annoying ways personally; because, generally speaking there are many more insects doing good than there are insects bugging us. So, think twice before you deem to kill and remember that they are actually here to perpetuate and benefit life.