Insects are the smallest animals, so some people tend to overlook them, giving little or no thought to their lives—even going so far as to think of insects as an inconvenience or a nuisance. All beings in nature are important and deserve our care and respect, even the tiniest. I once read something very interesting by a famous entomologist. He wrote that if all the ants on Earth vanished, then all life would die—but if all the humans on Earth vanished, all life would flourish.
There are a number of things that you can do around your house or yard to give nature a helping hand. The following are just a few examples of things that I do in my yard to make sure that even the smallest animals are safe.
If you see a bee, a fly, a spider, or another insect trapped in a bowl, a pot, or any container filled with water, help the insect out of the water and place the animal in a safe spot to dry. Bees, for example, go to the edge of our birdbaths to drink. They can lose their grip, slide in, and get stranded in the water. I just pick up a twig or large leaf, let the insect climb on board, and move the animal—preferably to a bush that has large leaves so that the insect can sit for a bit and dry out his or her wings.
If you see earthworms trying to cross a sidewalk or stone path, pick the animals up carefully and place them on damp soil in the shade. You can even place a leaf over earthworms to help them cool down. Worms can’t be exposed to the sun for long because they overheat quickly. They must stay damp and cool or they will die, and a hot sidewalk is a deathtrap for them.
If you have a woodpile, carefully check all sides of each piece of wood to make sure that no one is hiding in the crevices before you bring the wood into the house to burn. Spiders, lizards, and wood bees seem to congregate in my woodpile. I have found many tiny beings as I was gathering firewood, and had I not carefully checked the logs, the little critters would have burned to death in my fireplace. I just can’t let that happen.
To help keep insects such as sow bugs, earwigs, snails, and slugs out of my garden, I place thin lightweight pieces of wood on the ground around my vegetable garden. The little guys tend to go under the wood where it is cool and safe from predators such as birds and lizards. Once a week, I check underneath the wood, carefully pick up anyone I find, and take them to a part of my yard where they won’t be a problem for me and where they can live peacefully.
In your house, you might find the occasional spider, cricket, beetle, or fly, and by using PETA’s Humane Bug Catcher, you can gently take the animals back outside and release them among some plants, where they can find a new home that is much more suited to them than your living room.
All these little animals fill necessary functions that make life possible whether we understand it or not, and every small act of kindness on our part helps to make this world a more humane and peaceful place. It doesn’t take much to help our insect friends along their way—just a moment of your time—and you will feel all the better for doing it.
I would love to hear some of your tips for helping the small friends among us—insects.