We made it. The election is over! I want to congratulate you on making it through. What a surreal and strange time it’s been. It’s easy to get caught up in the drama and pageantry of it all, and it can get to be too much to handle at times. So I hope this list of American bugs we share a home with adds a little perspective to ease the stress you may be feeling. These tiny creatures don’t even know there’s such a massive political shakeup going on. They’re just doing the same thing they’ve been doing forever: living, surviving and doing their thing. I hope you’re able to find some space to do that today, and every day.
Conjuring a quick, simple image of America in your head might look like a pie cooling off in a kitchen window, a jar of honey on the counter, and bees buzzing about just outside, pollinating a colorful crowd of flowers. Yes, they sting, but because they must. Finding harmony with bees is vital to the continued existence of our gorgeous flower beds and sweet tea. So fear not, and let them be.
Surely you’ve seen these hourglass-donning arachnids holed up in some dark, cool corner of your garage that people rarely visit. Their bites can indeed cause muscle pain and spasms, but, contrary to popular belief, they are almost never fatal. This, combined with the fact that they are not aggressive spiders, means they can also be effective natural pest deterrents, eating bugs like mosquitoes and hungry caterpillars. We can find ways to live peacefully next to black widows, just as we can with each other.
Think about the last movie you watched that took place in the deep south of America. The brownish-yellowish hue over the dry, dry dirt and grass, a calm, light blue sky, and that telltale, buzzing drone in the background: it’s cicada season in July. No Independence Day celebration is complete without them. These bugs pose no threat to humans and are an important part of the diet of many birds, bat, and fish species (and sometimes dogs, if yours are as relentless as mine are).
They’re an American good luck charm! Why wouldn’t you want these critters around? On a more scientific note, many ladybug species are aphid-eating machines, which is always good news for your garden. Some species are herbivorous, however, and can wreak havoc on crops. In this case, there are many wasps that eat ladybugs and are important to keep around. As you can see, nature is a beautifully harmonious dance, if we just let it do its thing.
Yet another instantly recognizable American classic. Always disturbing the peace in your kitchen and at picnics, right? Well, it’s a bit more complex than that. Ants can inadvertently be a good thing to keep around for your garden, because their underground tunnels do a great job of aerating the soil, making for more nutritious and healthier vegetation. Aphids secrete a fluid that is vital to an ant’s diet, so they will work to keep them around, making for a fascinating triangulation between ants, aphids, and ladybugs. You can’t completely get rid of them all, so your next best bet is to promote a happy balance.
And balance is what we need most, in every aspect of life right now. So in the midst of all this election madness, take time to put down your phone, turn off the news, and maybe take a walk. There’s a beautiful and intricate ballet happening in your front yard that you are very much a part of, whether you know it or not. Take care of yourself.
Your bug guy,