Some things that serve very important functions in society & ecology are annoying. There are legitimate fears of some of the things I will list today. The idea is to present the reasons why we shouldn’t eradicate certain pests. I’m not saying you have to like them, but I hope after all is said & done you can respect them enough to just avoid them, like I do.
In May 2013, Brian Palmer’s “Pests that bug us have their own ecological importance” hit the internet & and I couldn’t agree more, but wanted to expand on his ideas. He concludes his article with:
Destroying mosquitoes might be risky, but I’m feeling much better about my willingness to get rid of German cockroaches and common bedbugs. It seems that some branches of the tree of life can be trimmed back a bit
& That is where I will begin mine…
Most of the reasoning behind not fully eliminating anything on earth is that it could cause a dangerous & irreversibly damaging chain reaction. I am not a religious person, but I do believe all things have purpose, even if it’s as simple as being someone else’s food.
Palmer only touches upon a few pests that seem to really bother him personally. I respect that he did thorough research & presented his findings as non-biased as he could. I only aspire to do the same as I add to the list of pests.
So far, Palmer gave us: cockroaches, bedbugs and mosquitoes, so to the bug list I’ll add: Gnats, Fleas, & Cicadas – all insects I have personal beef with.
If you work with or near anything sweet & sticky in the summertime, you know the disgusting pain that is a gnat. Having a 5 year stunt at Rita’s Italian Ice, I know & hate them all too well. They look like mosquitoes, but smaller & only certain kinds bite, but it’s how they swarm that causes problems. They are attracted to dampness & sugar. They’ll get all over your water ice & into your eyes. They swarm in clouds, but how necessary are they?
They’re one of many flying insects that help pollinate flora & are a main source of food for many birds & reptiles.
So what about fleas? I hate them. They ruined my late dog’s senior years. He was infested with them & we had almost no way to offer him relief. They would bite my ankles at night because I’d let him sleep with me knowing he was far more include that was. Getting into it is far too sad for me, but I honor Sonny’s memory by keeping those little pests away from my cat. Why can’t we just eradicate them?
“They help dead things rot and enrich the soil. Flea larvae emerge from the eggs to feed on any available organic material such as dead insects, feces, and vegetable matter” (source).
As insignificant as that purpose may sound, soil is the beginning for nearly all plant life on Earth. The more enriched it is, the better for all of us. So, fleas: keep to the soil.
Now, finally, cicadas. Arguably the most obnoxious bugs I’ve ever personally encountered. They’re like living NYE party favors. They wait underground for 2-14 years (depending on species) & then swarm entire communities with their miniature helicopter noises & displays of mating & breeding.
So what’s their purpose? Food.
Cicadas are a delectable treat for many bug eating animals, they are even favored by many fungi. Cicadas themselves feed on decaying matter, specifically trees, making them rich with nutrients. Due to their reclusive nature, cicadas are not necessarily a staple in anyone’s diet, but removing them from the food chain would create dire consequences.
I’m conclusion: if it’s on Earth, it’s meant to be & we shouldn’t fuck with that.