My father is a biology teacher and a entomologist. He has specialized in beetles, but is also interested in all other insects and small creatures like arachnids. Due to this rather unusual hobby I was confronted with creeping things all my life. Though being a teenager it made me feel rather weird, bringing home a girlfriend, I am now very glad for my dad’s hobby, as I have learned a lot about these creatures.
I have learned to appreciate them.
In the sense of being passive, becoming the observer. I love to just walk through my little garden or for that matter any green space and start looking at things a little closer.
The tiny ants trying to built a nest by gluing leaves together. The spiders, how they build and repair their web. The caterpillar eating bit by bit the juicy green leaves. Or the very odd but fascinating leaf shaped praying mantis: Even the geckos, lizards and other reptiles and amphibians.
There are so many processes and activities happening on a very small scale, that we are usually not seeing it. I guess mainly we are busy with our own life. But one thing we should acknowledge is that; without these little creatures fulfilling their purpose in life, the world would not be the same, and we might not be here. They might be far down the bottom of the food chain, but still there are more than 5 times more different kinds of insects than all other species together in this world. And more are discovered all the time.
They have been here for more than 300 million years, life in all environments and survived many disasters; global warming, vulcanos, the ice age.. Yet facing the bottom of shoe daily. And the killing of an insect by a human being in modern life doesn’t serve the purpose of food supply. It’s merely fear or disgust, which is purely based on the missing knowledge we have. See a spider (not an insect, I know) for example; we see it, we are scared, disgusted and we don’t want it anywhere close to us. So we smash it with whatever is at hand to ease our mind. But if we’d take a second, take a closer look at it and just be still, we’d realize that this creature doesn’t care for us. Its purpose in life is not to scare or harm us. It doesn’t even process the information of us being present on a level of understanding. Its simple purpose is to survive and reproduce; to be part of the system, to balance nature. Some of them are venomous, some even deadly. But how many humans actually die every year? Less than three on an average. And these are usually connected to an allergic reaction. So that actually means that your chances to get struck by lightning are better.
In the end it is the same with all animals; respect them and try to give them the space they need and we can all live side by side happily. They have been here long long before man kind so they deserve that.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser once said: We are only guests in nature, so we better behave like that.
I would actually take it one step further; we should try to become part of nature and life in harmony with nature. In the end we are also only one more species on earth.
For me it is actually fascinating to see the creatures very, very close. See the wonders of evolution and the variety of inventions nature made. It just fascinates me.
Insects have also proven to be amazing builders. Look at the termites’ nest. They are masters of underground structures with their elaborate tunnel systems. And above ground they build mounds or commonly called ant hills . Not only that some of them are up to 9 meter in height, they also have elaborate systems on climate control creating build forms that allows optimized air circulation and temperature control. Some termite species even cultivate fungal gardens requiring constant temperature allowing only very little temperature variations of plus or minus 1° C. That itself speaks for their ingenious skill set of building nests.
And there so many more insects, arachnids and other small creatures all perfectly adapted to their environment.
Apparently we are the once they are not prepared for. But it is in our hand how much impact we have.
Here is a wonderful website, if you want to know what bug it is: www.whatsthatbug.com
Here are some tips on how to improve your garden and create an insect hotel. That way we all benefit from each other.
So next time you are scared, take a deep breath, observe carefully and be amazed.