I feel bad for insects. Of all the animals on the planet, the insects have less people on their side so-to-speak. In fact, tell someone that, as a vegan, you advocate the “trap and release” method to deal with common household bugs- they’ll think you’re nuts. I wrote a piece in 2009 on spiders, mentioning that they are sentient and deserved respect, and I was bombarded with comments from people who thought I went mad.
Insects are totally amazing. Sure, some can be a bit creepy looking- but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Insects out number human populations by huge numbers. At any given time there are ten quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) insects alive, whereas the current global population of humans is around six billion (6,000,000,000). That’s a lot of bugs.
Did you know that:
- Houseflies find sugar with their feet, which are 10 million times more sensitive than human tongues.
- Wasps feeding on fermenting juice have been known to get “drunk’ and pass out.
- To survive the cold of winter months, many insects replace their body water with a chemical called glycerol, which acts as an “antifreeze” against the temperatures.
- Ants can lift and carry more than fifty times their own weight
- All insects are bugs but not all bugs are insects. An Insect has three body parts; a head, thorax, and abdomen. Insects have six legs and two antennae.
- Scientists recently discovered that insects such as cockroaches and honeybees make collective decisions and use voting and quorums to help decide where to make their next home.
There is no shortage of amazing facts on insects, I could never list them all. Still, I’m not going to sit here and tell you I love bugs. I do a ‘scream and duck’ when I see a bee- but that’s more “allergy” influencing me than real fear. But as a whole, I respect the insects. They are animals, after all. I need them to help sustain life on this planet. They’re integral to the inner workings and do things I would never do like- consume dung, help break down decaying matter, and so on. Although, even if I didn’t benefit from them, I’d still treat them as individuals with their own interests. I do my best to coexist with them. I’m not saying I want to live with bugs, don’t misunderstand me- I’m just saying I don’t try to kill them when I find them.
I take extra measures to ensure I don’t invite them in my home and my resident spiders help keep any invaders at bay. For the most part, it works. If I’m absolutely forced to, I’ll remove the insect via the catch-and-release method.
I have my veganism to thank for my views on insects. I’m much more aware of the creatures I share the planet with, more aware of their plights. Insects are more beautiful and fascinating than they get credit for.
Gratitude to Encyclopedia Smithsonian for the bug facts and to the bugs for visiting my home this past week for their photography sessions.