Be Kind to Bugs

by: Michael Finn

From an early age, most of us are taught to avoid bugs at all costs. For this reason, overcoming the fear of them is often very difficult. Socially, we consider insects as “pests” who are expendable in every sense of the word. But while insects can sometimes be “creepy”, or can cause potential problems around the house, they are living creatures who deserve respect and compassion. Bugs don’t want to be squished, stomped on, sprayed, or crushed. So before you go running for a shoe or a can of Raid, consider these tips!

Eliminate sources of food and shelter

One of the most important things you can do to decrease the presence of insects around your house is eliminate clutter. Outside the perimeter of your home, remove anything that may serve as shelter for bugs, such as weeds, leaves, and other debris that promotes moisture buildup.

Vacuum regularly, dust, and clean up crumbs, dirty laundry, and other clutter inside as well. Predatory insects, such as spiders & centipedes, will go where their food is, so when you keep your home tidy, their food source will diminish. Eventually, if you follow the same routine, the bugs will have no reason to hang around your place.

Catch and release

If you find an insect inside your home, don’t freak out and try to kill it. Usually, if you’re calm and gentle, you can safely capture it and take it back outside – where it wants to be.

For spiders and centipedes, you can take a jar or wad of soft tissue paper and quickly catch them. Make sure not to squeeze or injure them, however. If the insect you’re catching has wings, be extra careful not to rip or break them in any way. To ensure the insect won’t return, release it far from your house. Try not to drop it near anything that could harm it, such as ant hills, puddles, or webs.

In the event of problems with ants or fruit flies, immediately remove all sources of food. Watch to see where the bugs are coming in from. Once you’ve determined their route(s), seal the cracks/holes with caulk or silicone.

Although unorthodox, it’s possible to humanely remove colonies of ants from your home by placing a hard piece of candy in a jar. When the ants swarm to the candy, you can seal them inside and take them somewhere that is safe and far from your house. A humane fruit-fly trap is similar. Click here for information on how to make one.

Try natural repellents

You can use plenty of everyday household items to repel insects around your home. A ½ ammonia ½ water mixture can be used to spray the perimeter of your house to keep spiders away. Essential oils, such as lavender and peppermint are also useful for this purpose as well. Cinnamon, ground coffee, citrus peel, and chili powder can be a useful ant repellents. Spray your yard with a garlic/water mixture to deter mosquitoes from massing around windows and doors.

Never buy products that test on animals

If natural repellents simply won’t work, and you’re desperate to rid yourself of an infestation, don’t purchase products that brutally test on animals, such as Raid. If you’ve absolutely tried everything to no avail, consider brands like EcoSMART. While this product will kill/repel insects, it’s easy on the environment and doesn’t involve animal testing in its production. While I’m not condoning the eradication of insects, if such a means must be used, it’s best to cause the least amount of harm!

Don’t be intimidated

I understand how daunting it can be to pick up insects (especially spiders) and carry them outdoors. With experience and patience, however, it can be done. If you find insects intimidating, try to see them in a different perspective. Really, the majority of them cannot harm you in any way. Most of them aren’t even interested in you, so you shouldn’t be afraid or threatened. The more you face your fear of insects, the less prominent it will become inside your mind. Eventually, you’ll wonder how anyone could kill them at all, despite how “ugly” or “gross” they may be.

Additional Reading

Insects May Bug Us, but Try to Be Less Trigger-Happy
Don’t Bug Out
Natural Insect Pest Control

 

 

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Sea Lion Splash at the Wisconsin State Fair – Please Sign Our Petition

Link to the Petition

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The Wisconsin State Fair has scheduled Sea Lion Splash, a traveling sea lion circus, to perform several shows every day at the fair in August! To date, there has been no confirmation from the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) department that Sea Lion Splash has an exhibitor’s license. Licensees are required to meet the minimal standards of the Animal Welfare Act.

The founder, Marco Peters, crams together a few sea lions in one shallow tank, who are forced to live in an unnatural environment while on the road in the name of “family” fun. The tank is not deep enough to stimulate natural swimming behaviors and provide a thriving behavioral enrichment environment.

Californian Sea Lions are classified as ’hazardous’, suggesting that they have the ability to seriously injure a person. (Taronga Zoo, 2005). Sea lions are smart and mobile on land. A sea lion can easily move across the stage and bite somebody. A family photo with the sea lions is not a safe environment for families.

Studies have shown that sea lions are poor thermoregulators and cannot regulate their body temperature on extremely warm days. To cool off they must enter the sea and immerse themselves several times a day (Whitlow et al, 1971).  Sea lions remain closer to the shoreline and cool off in the ocean. They are generally found in sheltered, quiet bays, as well as on rocky isolated islands and just off sea coasts. (Walker et al, 1975). Sea lions tend not to go further than 16km out to sea (King 1983). However, the California coast is approximately 1,678 miles away from Wisconsin.

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The founder, Marco Peters, boasts about his experience working with Ringling Brothers.  This is nothing to boast about. Ringling Bros has been cited for numerous violations against the Animal Welfare Act, including, improper handling of dangerous animals and for failing to provide animals with veterinary care.

Sea Lion Splash is a cruel way to provide family summer fun. Taking wildlife out of their natural environment to perform tricks and for photos does not teach the public about how a sea lion lives naturally. Lessons about marine life and conservation can be taught at home or in a class room. It is not necessary to ship sea lions like cargo in a truck. Please cancel this cruel show.

Join the Alliance for Animals and the Environment in calling on the Wisconsin State Fair Board to cancel this cruel performance. Please sign this petition and share it with others.

For further information regarding the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board, please contact Marian Santiago-Lloyd at marian.santiago-lloyd@wistatefair.com.