Sunday, December 4, 2011

Give Pests a Rest!

I'll start off this post with a quiz. Answer honestly!

1) How often do you kill an insect who is in your house?
a. Whenever I see one
b. Only if the weather is too cold to let them outside
c. Never; I either leave them be or take them outside

2) If your house had rats in the walls, what would you do?
a. Call an exterminator immediately
b. Find a no-kill company to release them into the wild
c. Lure them into no-kill traps and release them into the wild

3) How do you deal with the humongous anthill in your backyard?
a. Poison it with toxins or something else that will kill the ants
b. Shovel it up and dump the ants in the park
c. Leave it alone

So how did you do?
If you answered mostly a's, you haven't given much thought to the feelings of animals. You may feel like you don't have the time to deal with them, or you just don't care. Try harder.
If you answered mostly b's, you do try to show compassion towards "pests", and you think about their point-of-view. But you could try harder. You may not be educated on proper pest control, and you draw the line where anything disconveniences you too much.
If you answered mostly c's, then you really hold the animals' interests in high esteem. Well done!

The "Answers" to the above questions:

1. Leave the insects alone, especially if they aren't overtaking your house. If you see insects who will starve if you let them stay indoors, let them outside, but only if the weather is good.
Flies should be regarded not as pests, but as guests-- read J. Allen Boone's opinion in his true story Kinship with All Life, on his new friend "Freddie the Fly":
  • "Curious to what his reactions might be, I abruptly tossed the little fellow into the air. It did not disturb him in the least; in fact he seemed to like it. He cruised slowly just above my head, but when I pointed my finger up in his direction, down he came, landing on the fingertip as though he and I had been doing such things for a long time. I did this again and again, but every time he was tossed off he would always return...."
Animals are much smarter than we give them credit for. Don't end their lives just because of convenience.

2. Although you may not see a difference between b and c for this one, there is indeed a big difference. Catch-and-release exterminators are not always what they are publicized as. "Humane" companies may end up killing the animals anyway. If you do hire a company, do plenty of research, get some references, and make sure it is okay for you to go with them to release the animals. Make sure that the animals ARE released.

3. Always leave anthills alone. They will disappear come winter anyway. While shovelling them away may seem humane, you are dislocating them, subjecting them to confusion and possible death. Always try to co-exist with wildlife in your area.

In conclusion, give pests a rest, treat them like guests, and don't kill their nests! Not the best poem, but a good message!

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