By Daria Zeoli, Guest Contributor

Editors note: The phrase “pest control” is an industry term created to describe a human construct. Humans believe that insects are pests because they attempt to live indoors with us. But if you think about it, we built our houses and office buildings right on top of where they used to live. I bet if you asked an insect, they’d consider us the pests. – KD

Do vegans kill bugs? I’ve asked that question before, and there is no black and white answer. But here’s a story about navigating a non-vegan world and “pest control”.

Every spring, we get bugs on the outside of the windows on our office building. The birds swoop in to pick them off. A couple of years ago, there were a lot more bugs than there were birds, and the bugs got into the office. It wasn’t uncommon to find dead ones on our desks each morning.

Building management tried to alleviate the “problem” by eventually putting down sticky fly paper to keep the insects away from our personal space. They also put down sticky traps – you know, the ones that are usually used on rodents. They are horrible and I don’t know who would use them and think it was a humane way to catch a mouse.

But I digress. The bugs haven’t really infiltrated the building in a couple of years. The sticky traps remained, out of sight in corners and therefore out of mind. One morning last fall, I arrived to work early and saw an overturned sticky trap on the floor near my desk. A wing was sticking out underneath.

You guys, I don’t do well with dead bodies. I can’t even go near them without having a bit of a freakout. I asked someone to put the poor bird in a box so that maintenance could take him away later. I imagined that he fell from the ceiling panels (we get one in the ceiling from time to time), got stuck, panicked and died. I felt terrible.

Somehow, six months have passed. The bugs are back (though not inside). I watched birds swoop in for most of a recent morning to eat. And as I returned from my AM break, I saw my boss, walking outside with a bird securely in her hands.

The bird was alive, but sure enough, she had fallen through the ceiling, onto another one of those sticky traps. My boss was going outside, intent on freeing her.

I texted KD, because if you didn’t already know, she’s knowledgeable when it comes to taking care of animals of all types. She suggested using oil and referred me to a video of someone releasing a mouse from one of these traps:

Now, oil is not something we keep on hand in the office, so I knew we didn’t have any. I plan on buying a small bottle to have available in case this happens again.

My boss was able to free the bird, who flew away, avoiding the fate of her fellow bird from last fall.

There is so much to unpack here. (I kind of hate that “let’s unpack this” stuff that’s so trendy these days.) Why are sticky traps used at all – they are not humane for rodents, and birds can get trapped and die as well. They aren’t humane for bugs, either, really – do you want to get stuck on something and die? Is there a humane way to get rid of bugs in an office building?

In fact, there is. I will admit I had no idea, but there are humane bug catchers that will catch bugs so you can release them. BugZooka Bug Catcher Vacuum is one. There are also pest repellers that use sound to deter insects and other “pests” without killing them, like this one.

How do you deal with insects in the office (or home)? Do you have a bug catcher? Tell me about it in the comments.

Photo: Dan Brickley