Bugs fascinate children; they love to watch an ant groom itself, a bee gather nectar, or a spider build its web. On the opposite end of the spectrum, adult attitudes toward insects are generally negative — the ant is a nuisance and the bee might sting!
Through these attitudes we send our children a clear, subconscious message that insects are unsafe, unclean, and unappealing. Most children adopt this viewpoint before they leave elementary school that the “only good bug is a dead bug.”
Although we work hard to rid your home of pests, we are insect lovers at heart! We see great value in what insects do for our ecosystem, and want to let you know that not all bugs are pests!
Aside from ladybugs (which are considered cute) and butterflies (they’re pretty), most insects are regarded with a certain degree of fear or revulsion. A few, like honey bees and praying mantis, may be recognized as useful, but all others are just pests.
This notion of pest is unique to humans. We define pests as any organism that causes annoyance or injury to human beings, human possessions, or human interests. The injury may be physical (bites and stings), medical (causing illness or disease), or economic (monetary loss of goods or property). Injury may arise directly from the pest itself, or may develop indirectly as a result of the actions or behavior of the pest.
In reality, many of the insects we label as pests are essential components of our natural ecosystem — we don’t want to live with them, but neither could we live without them!
Termites, for example, are serious pests when they move into the floor joists of a home. An infestation may cost hundreds of dollars to eradicate, and if ignored, could eventually destroy the house. So of course we want to respond to this pest situation.
However, in a forest ecosystem, termites are beneficial. They are a vital component of the biogeochemical cycle that releases nutrients from dead plant material. Without termites and other decomposers living on the forest floor, organic molecules would be locked away in piles of dead wood, unavailable to living organisms until released by fire or erosion.
A fear of insects is quite normal. Some people are so afraid of insects that it can affect their ability to function normally in society due to entomophobia. People with severe entomophobia are frequently confined to their homes; they are unable to enjoy gardening, walking in the woods, or visiting the beach because they dread an encounter with an insect. Psychiatrists estimate that 1-2% of the adult U.S. population is affected by some degree of entomophobia that limits activity or interferes with quality of life.
Of course we’re not suggesting you halt all pest control services, and live amongst the bugs! Protect your home when necessary, but appreciate the beauty of all creatures living amongst us in their natural environment.