Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why Killing Insects is Bad for You

In preparation for my grandma's visit in a couple of weeks, I went about cleaning the house's downstairs bathroom. This may not sound so bad, but you have not seen the downstairs bathroom. Groundwater seeping up to the walls from torrential rains had widened the gap between the wall and the floor, and what I assumed was mold had slowly begun its creep upwards. The remnants of a caulking job were strewn in an odd kind of order on top of the toilet, near the sink, and under the cupboard. But, of course, the title of this post is "Why Killing Insects is Bad for You." After shoving much of the non-vaccuumable mess into the cupboard and vaccuuming the rest, I was faced with my next task--the removal of spiders.

I could have just vaccuumed them up like so many other non-living things, but my older sister's vegetarian instincts must have washed off on me--that, or I was imagining being inside a vaccuum too vividly. So instead of speedily dispatching the spiders (or perhaps daddy-longlegs) that clung so tenaciously to the shower walls, I fetched my spider-catching materials--a plastic cup; a thin piece of paper; and my bug-catcher, a hard plastic, narrow bowl-like instrument complete with tweezers and a cap with breathing holes. I captured one spider in the cup, deposited it into the bug catcher, and proceeded to capture my next. Finding it too difficult, I decided to release the originally caught spider, now getting restless inside its temporary plastic home, outside.

Over the course of the next ten minutes I captured at least three spiders (or daddy-longlegs) and deposited them outside. There were no deaths--with one exception. It was the second day of cleaning the bathroom, and after capturing what I thought were all the spiders, I saw another one lurking on the floor. I was, to say in the least, annoyed. But I was also impatient. My bug catcher, and the plastic cup, lay upstairs, and I didn't feel like making the trek. So instead of giving the spider a chance at life, I grabbed a paper towel and smashed it underneath. I was then faced with horror at what I had done and the realization that I would have to somehow dispose of the cadaver. With a wince, I swooped upon the paper towel, and, half closing my eyes, dumped it in the trash. I think I saw one feeble little leg on the ground.

Not only did I feel triumphant when I successfully captured and removed a spider without fatalities, I felt guilty and nauseated when I had to dispose of a dead one. Thus it is most convenient to dispose of spiders in a humane manner (i.e., capturing them in a plastic cup, then releasing them outside). If anything, it's convenient for your karma. After all, you don't want to be a spider in your next life--and if you are, you don't want a reincarnated victim to have revenge.* So in the future, I'm not going to be killing insects. Adrianna would be proud of me.

*This is a good rule for most living beings, not just spiders. In other words, killing anything on purpose is something to avoid.


  1. rocobley2:40 AM

    Spiders aren't insects - they're arachnids. So ner.

  2. Phil O2:14 PM

    If I was reincarnated as a bug, and someone cleaning a bathroom killed me, I wouldn't hold it against them, since it was for a good reason. We kill all sorts of creatures when cleaning things. It does not cause bad karma to kill bugs (insects, arachnids, etc). Ever killed a mosquito?

  3. Anonymous10:17 PM

    Hello, as a former insect (now reincarnated as a human), I think it needs to be mentioned that this karma thing is a two-way street.
    You see, I was a mischievous spider who liked to bite humans as they walked past me. Now, I have been cursed to live out this life with arachnophobia.