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  • May
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Be Kind to Our Small Friends

Posted by at 5:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

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.

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    Pat Bell says...

    May 19th, 2013, 11:55 pm

    What a great story…..and you are absolutely right…Im from the city and it’s taken over 20 yrs to get over a fear of bugs…when they into my apt. I somehow get them where they really want to be without hurting or killing them…..It’s a vast improvement for me and Im kinda proud of myself!! However when the Cicadas come , I will be in for the entire 4 to what ever weeks they will be ‘visiting’ us….lol

    Bonnie Morgan says...

    May 20th, 2013, 2:10 am

    does that include cockroaches and cenitpedes?

    Christina says...

    May 20th, 2013, 4:29 am

    What course of action would you suggest taking for large influxes of dangerous spiders such as hobo or recluse spiders? They are fast, elusive, and their bites are harmful. I don’t think it’s possible to catch every single one of them, but it would be nice to be able to keep them out of the house and away from people and pets that they could bite, especially when those larger beings are sleeping and can’t spot the spiders to catch them. I’ve heard peppermint oil might work as a natural deterrent, but if it drives spiders away from your house, I wonder if it keeps the ones that are already in your house there. Eek! I also don’t think I can keep my cat from eating bugs that she spies. Thank you for any help!

    David Fiske says...

    May 20th, 2013, 7:14 am

    I was so very glad to read this article as this how I like to live myself. Every year we get an ant invasion. I regard them as little visitors that do no harm really and after a few weeks just stay outside. I think most people put out poison traps to kill them. I read the same information on the value of ants as you did. I hate wasp traps that people use and always point out that wasps are very beneficial and the fact that people call them bees makes me mad at their ignorance. I was once a beekeeper, marvellous little creatures and so many are so ignorant of them. I once pointed out to folksinger that her song of Mr Bee in the garden was completely impossible as they are all Miss in the garden.
    As for earth worms I often have to interrupt my Tai chi over and over again when I see the earthworms wriggling on the driveway where I practice and carry them to a compost pile. I believe that if we don’t show compassion to our fellow species at some point “nature’ will show no compassion to us.

    Laura Guttridge says...

    May 20th, 2013, 10:20 am

    Living in South Florida, we have a lot of backyard critters. In my pool I have a skamper-ramp, it is placed by the pools steps to assist any being that may be trapped. As another precaution I have whats called a Critter Skimmer. It’s an attachment for the inside of a pools skimmer that it really just a spiral stairway leading out of the top of your skimmer. So any little being trapped inside your pools skimmer can simply walk out! I never find a drowned frog or lizard in my pool! I think they should be standard for all pools.

    If an insect is trapped inside my home, they usually go to a window to try to escape. I simply grab a cup, and a firm piece of paper. Then put the cup over the insect, and gently slide the piece of paper over the cups lid trapping the insect inside. Then release the insect outside.

    I was out with my daughter the other day where we notice a lady bug clinging to life on a small leaf inside a water fountain. My daughter leaped into action saving the ladybug. She gently placed the lady bug in a safe place where we both watched her dry off, and fly away. As we walked away my daughter said “isn’t it good luck to save a lady bug mom?” I said yes honey….it’s called good karma…..and we get it whenever we show compassion to any being in need.”

    Laura Frisk says...

    May 20th, 2013, 10:32 am

    Great tips! The insects deserve our respect as much as anyone else does. We do all those tips above – except the garden tip for snails and slugs. Never thought of that. Will definitely try that one too. Thanks for posting.

    Michael says...

    May 20th, 2013, 3:53 pm


    In all my life I have never deliberately killed an insect. I have taken great pains sometimes to ensure the safety of every little being I meet. But sometimes in the winter when I encounter an insect in my home I am clueless on where to put him or her! Any tips on this? I find myself putting them down in the basement of the building I live in! I am guessing outside in the snow would kill them. And I also worry about moving an ant somewhere far away from where I found her – since I hear they need to be with their clan! Also, I am seriously grateful for the Humane Bug Catcher! I feel it has saved my life – I don’t want to ever hurt a little critter but at the same time insects still freak me out! This catcher keeps me calm and in control!!!

    Thank you for this article!!! Also I always keep all pots,cups and bowls in my cupboards closed or turned upside down to keep little ones from falling in and not being able to climb back out. And I wipe up any little puddles of water around sinks since it is easy to find those little flies drowned in them. When I find a fly in this predicament I carefully pick him or her up with a tissue and set it aside. It is absolutely amazing how often I go back to check and the fly has revived and is walking around! Don’t assume they are dead even though they look like it!!

    Michael says...

    May 20th, 2013, 4:48 pm

    One more thought – for the birdbath or any water bowl situation – it is good to place and keep a long stick inside the water with one end going out the edge of the bath. This will serve as a ‘ladder’ or escape route for insects who fall in – since it is impossible for any of us to keep a constant eye on the water bowls.

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