For it being a Monday, there’s a lot of love in the air. Valentine’s Day is the day that divides friends and family in all different directions. Everything about today hinges on one’s relationship status. Elderly couples have paid their dues. They’ll just hit Applebee’s a little early this week with their sweethearts. Middle agers will just hire their own kids so they can hit dinner and movie. Newlyweds will spend half the month’s paycheck on the occasion. College kids will miss class today and spend enormous amounts of money on a girlfriend or boyfriend. High schoolers don’t have enough money to do anything, and they don’t even know what love is. It’s all about infatuation at that age. And elementary school kids are excited to pass out Justin Bieber valentines with candy hearts to all their secret crushes.
And that’s just assuming all those people even have a valentine for the day. If today’s not Valentine’s Day for one, then it’s “Singles Unite” Day for another. If singles haven’t called in sick today to work, or just all together ditched classes, for sure they are masterminding a large singles event later tonight. No married people allowed! What better way to “celebrate” your single…ness than to throw a party with other singles and watch a movie that has nothing to do with romance. Like…Live Free or Die Hard. That’s a perfect movie. The antagonist even looses his girlfriend to a Ford Explorer falling down an elevator shaft.
I’m not here to delve too much into the who’s and how’s of our relationships. But I am here to ask why. Why can’t pests get love to? Not that we need to save them all or anything. We are still in the exterminating business. Rather, our love for our local pests can come in the form of a basic understanding of who these little critters are, and what type of role they play. Some aspects of our little friends can even be quite admirable. We’ll just stick to the common pests for right now.
First, the ant. Ants are known the be the janitors of the world. They can feast on almost anything – dead animals, other dead insects and dead leaves. One dead insect is another ant’s fortune. In the work place, the work and dedication of one ant colony is enough to make even the best CEO marvel. Each ant knows its role. Each ant has a purpose. From sun up to sundown, the ant’s life is work, work, work. No holidays. No sick days.
Next, the spider. Believe it or not, spiders are somewhat family oriented. They care for their young. As icky as the webs may be, they serve as both a home and a trap for food. In the grand scheme of things, they are a major player in keeping the ecosystems in check. They help maintain the food cycle by controlling the general populations of their prey. They are the “For Us, By Us” pest controllers.
Crickets. For every predator there is prey. Crickets, in a sense, take one for the team. They serve as a valuable food source to many other insects and rodents. As today is Valentine’s Day, we will highlight a common mating practice. You know that chirping sound? Sounds great when you’re camping, but not so much when it’s in your wall? Well, it’s actually the male’s mating call. In fact, the exact chirping sound differs from species to species, allowing the females to determine who specifically is on the market. How romantic!
Cockroaches. Moving away from the ecological value of these critters, cockroaches have recently become the center of study in the advancement of robotic limbs. Scientists are mimicking the body mechanics of cockroaches to improve the speed and effectiveness that robotic hands are able to grasp and react to the surrounding environment. While cockroaches have their place in the food chain, they are now being observed for the cause of science.
Make no mistake about it. There are no good reasons you should have to battle pests in the comfort of your own home. But just for today, take time to learn something about our little visitors. Most of them are just trying to make their way in the world, just like the rest of us.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the married folks, single people and insects around the world.
February 14, 2011 - 10:27 PM