Stop squashing bugs. And stop calling them pests.


Those of us who are beekeepers rightly love our bugs.

Chances are, we don’t spend too much time thinking about other bugs.

jpegScott R. Shaw does. He’s a professor and curator of the Insect Museum at the University of Wyoming. He’s also author of Planet of the Bugs: Evolution and the Rise of Insects.

He’s written an op-ed piece for the New York Times making the very salient point that insects are not “pests.” We call them that because they bother us sometimes. As Shaw writes

But of the millions of insects, only a tiny fraction of them, less than 1 percent, are pests. A vast majority are beneficial to humans: They are pollinators, seed dispersers, nutrient recyclers, soil producers and predators or parasites of plant-feeding insects. They are food for frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes and especially birds. Some are important indicators of water quality. Bugs contain an astronomical array of chemical compounds, some exploited commercially, such as beeswax and cochineal dye. And they are sources of medicines, oils, waxes, fibers, dyes and scents.

We should develop a greater appreciation for all insects and what they do for us.

Good point, well said.

Key words: bugs, insects, honeybees, pollinators, plants, environment, eco-system, Scott R. Shaw, Planet of the Bugs, New York Times, op-ed article, love the bugs, beeswax

3 thoughts on “Stop squashing bugs. And stop calling them pests.

  1. Does small hive beetle count also? Jose Ash clean6@comcast.net > There are few laws that will pass the Constitutional test. Governments do not pass laws for peoples protection or to secure the rights of anyone other than the government itself, or its benefactors. There is always deceit behind every act of legislation no matter how well conceived their rationalization, just as there is always a majority of gullible willing to accept their reasoning as true concern for public interest or safety. > > Every act of a government, from county, city, state, to the federal government, has just as equally, if not more so, the consequence of restricting those rights, that are by intention of our Constitution ABSOLUTE.

  2. Amen. My children were all taught not to kill anything indiscriminately. .  My grown children still catch spiders and take them outside. .

    Walt Peterson

    Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S®4 Active™, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

  3. Thanks so much for all of these great articles! I wholehearted agree with not using the misnomer pests, but I would also add “germs, and “weeds” to the list. Most bacteria are vital to earth’s processes and not harmful to people and I can’t think of one plant that deserves to be called a weed.

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