General Question

miasmom's avatar

Is it cruel to flush a bug down the toilet alive?

Asked by miasmom (3490points) January 21st, 2009 from iPhone

This is totally random and weird, but sometimes I think about the bug and wonder if I’m doing something cruel. I would normally smoosh the bug first (which would kill it instantly), but sometimes I am so disgusted by the bug that I just put it in the toilet and flush it. Do you think it takes a long time to drown? And is that cruel to the bug?

I’m not a vegetarian, I eat meat with no qualms about how the animal died, so I’m not against killing bugs, I just wonder when I watch it go down the toilet…maybe this stems from my fear of drowning…I do think that would be the worst way to die. Thoughts?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

44 Answers

iAMi's avatar

Dudet… it’s a bug..

KrystaElyse's avatar

You’re so cruel! How do you live with yourself!

i’m just kidding! I’m sure the bug didn’t have a chance living that long anyway.

Vinifera7's avatar

Insects can’t hold their breath due to the lack of lungs. It doesn’t take long for them to asphyxiate.

Read How do flies breathe? on HowStuffWorks.

charliecompany34's avatar

nope, because since it’s a bug, the little booger just may survive it all anyway.

wundayatta's avatar

I met this cockaroach once. He was rather large, and he claimed to be some kind of writer. He was also a member of some kind of bug rights group (I think they wanted free access to kitchens across the land, if they promised not to go in the bathrooms).

Anyway, I didn’t ask him this question directly, because, frankly, it’s not something I think about. I mean, I’ve stepped on bugs, inhaled bugs, eaten bugs and crushed bugs between my fingers, so I’m not exactly a bug’s best friend.

I suppose the toilet is a reasonable place to dispose of bug remains, but given the bug rights platform, I’m not sure they appreciate it. They really prefer, so I’m told by Franz (that was the large cockaroach’s name) to have a full blown funeral with all the bells and whistles. Military guards, twenty-one gun salutes, steel lined coffins—the works.

I mean, they are rather forgiving of us when we kill them. They are surprisingly magnanimous in that sentiment. It’s just, they like proper honors. Bugs, it seems, are big on protocal. Who knew?

Anyway, if Franz were here (it is rather lamentable that at his passing, there was no one who could perform the proper rituals and ablutions), he would say that flushing them down the toilet is rather immoral and disrespectful. In the future, you should pick them up (you may use a tissue), place them carefully in an empty matchbox, and bury the matchbox under a tree in your yard.

I can sell you a gross of empty matchboxes at a very good price, if you like.

poofandmook's avatar

Bugs are scary :( As long as it’s dead, I don’t care how it got there.

Grisson's avatar

I think it’s more humane to torture it to death by pulling its wings off and sticking it with pins before flushing it. just kidding

But seriously, are you sure flushing it down the toilet will kill it? I suspect that most of the time it just removes the insect from sight, which is all we really want. I’d be willing to make a small wager that most bugs survive a trip down the loo.

Now if we can just get government funding for the research….

Aethelwine's avatar

Only cruel if you flush it with a turd.

basp's avatar

Our government is busy watching the economy getting flushed down the toilet to have time to worry about bugs.

Grisson's avatar

@basp: At least the bug is in good company.

basp's avatar

Good point, grisson.

miasmom's avatar

Wow, I didn’t even fathom it might survive, I’m smooshing all my bugs now!

arnbev959's avatar

Is it so hard to just put it outside?

Harp's avatar

Just want to suggest one thing, here- I find that whenever I feel compassion nudging me one way or the other, I’m usually better off listening to it. That’s just based on personal experience: when I ignore my sense of compassion, I pretty much always feel smaller and more isolated as a result. When I let myself be guided by compassion, I feel more open and connected.

That sounds overblown when we’re talking about bugs, I know, but I don’t think it works very well to say “I’m going to exercise compassion in most of my life, but I won’t sweat it with the smal stuff”. Compassion’s a habit; if you’re trying to cultivate it (and I hope we all are), then you listen to it even with the small stuff. Every time you shrug it off, its voice gets a bit softer.

Does a flushed bug suffer? I have no idea. But if it occurs to you to ask such a question, it might be worth doing things differently anyway.

lovelace's avatar

Nope,not at all. When we enter their homes, they let us have it. I just look at it like “repaying the favor”.

Allie's avatar

I squish them first. A quick death as opposed to a frightening and prolonged death full of suffering. By the way, I only kill/flush spiders.

Blondesjon's avatar

I prefer to kill mine with a lethal injection. It’s really hard to find a good vein sometimes, but they just kind of slip away. Very humane.

@daloonKafka’s estate attorneys are on line 2

wundayatta's avatar

@Blondesjon: How do you know I’m not Kafka? Hmmmm?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

don’t listen to daloon, or anyone else. I am your true bug expert. I raise Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. I am the unofficial patron saint of spiders. Don’t feel bad. Bugs breathe through pores in their abdomen. They have no lungs. Drowning is nearly instantaneous. They do not suffer as you think that they might. Don’t feel bad. The bugs don’t.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Allie, I am the unofficial patron saint of spiders. We have you on our list. :-) And just to creep you (and other bug haters out), you can kill as many as you like, you will never decimate the population of insects on earth. Pound for pound, invertebrates outnumber vertebrates almost two to one. There are more bugs on earth by sheer mass than there are humans, horses, kittens, and all the other ‘cute’ animals combined. It is only a matter of time, only a matter of time. BWahahahahahahahahahahaha!

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

and just so you know, spiders that are in your house have evolved to live in your house. They are known as house spiders. They are not outside spiders, since outdoor spiders only come indoors by accident. Putting indoor spiders outdoors is the cruelest thing you can do, next to flushing them down the toilet. :-) For everyone you kill, there is probably a couple dozen more you never see. I have learned to live with them, and simply wave when they go by. Oh yeah, house spiders don’t bite people either, that’s a myth. But I don’t expect anyone to believe that, no one ever does, even though I have it on very good authority.

Vinifera7's avatar

Creep factor rising…

Anyway, I don’t even bothing getting rid of house spiders most of the time. In part because I am lazy, but they don’t harm anything, so why go out of my way to exterminate them?

Allie's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra If you knew how much I am terrified of spiders you might feel a bit bad about telling me the part about them evolving to live in my house and about how many I dont even know about roaming my house. Honestly, I’m probably going to have a hard time falling asleep tonight.

wundayatta's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra “Drowning is nearly instantaneous.”

Crushing is instantaneous. It’s the remains, after crushing, that must be matchboxed and buried, or the great Madagascar Cockroach God will come to curse you.

poofandmook's avatar

@Allie: Yeah. I think it’s sort of rude to say something like that after anyone said they were scared of bugs. Especially since it had nothing whatsoever to do with the question.

Allie's avatar

@daloon What the hell?!? Madagascar Cockroach God? Oh no….. =’{

Vinifera7's avatar

Just remember that while you sleep, house spiders are likely to crawl in your mouth. Sweet dreams! Muahahaha!

timothykinney's avatar

I read somewhere that certain insects can live for several days underwater due to oxygen trapped upon the hair on their legs (which they apparently absorb through their bodies). I believe what I read was specifically for ants, but it’s conceivable that the cockroach actually survives being flushed.

Allie's avatar

@Vinifera7 WTF!?!?! Really… thanks a lot.. =[

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@poofandmook, Hey, just because someone finds the facts uncomfortable, that doesn’t change the facts. Fears can be overcome, by learning to understand what it is you fear and discovering that there are things in the world much more horrible than a bug. I used to be like Allie, scared of spiders. I overcame the fear and now I strive to help others to discover that spiders aren’t out to harm you. In fact, in a spider’s view of things, you hardly exist. If that’s rude, then I’m sorry you think my attempt to stop the spread of untruths is a bad thing.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Want to know the truth about spiders? Then go here and discover the facts about spiders. Why believe the garbage when you can get the truth?

Lupin's avatar

I don’t flush. I consider wasting water a bigger “sin”. I crush and throw it into the wood stove. The tissue and the critter help warm my home for a millisecond or two.

CMaz's avatar

It is only cruel if you think bugs have emotions. Cruelty is a human emotion that a word has been attached to.

timothykinney's avatar

@ChazMaz: I disagree. It is cruel for people to destroy life solely for pleasure, no matter what the form of that life is. According to the OED, Cruelty is: Disposed to inflict suffering; indifferent to or taking pleasure in another’s pain or distress; destitute of kindness or compassion; merciless, pitiless, hard-hearted.

While you might take up the argument that bugs or plants are not “another” and so their torture does not constitute cruelty, it is in fact merciless and pitiless. Who else can human beings have pity on except those who are disposed to our will?

Or put into the words of Zushio’s father, Masauji Taira, in Sansho the Bailiff , “Without mercy man is like a beast.”

cutipi108's avatar


Nihilus's avatar

First: To answer the question first asked, I think killing any form of life for pleasure or because of a phobia is cruel and unjustified. I never kill any bugs. I put them outside or leave them alone.

Second: I wouldn’t waste so much water for such a useless thing.

peege's avatar

@Blondesjon iI agree with Blondesjohn that lethal injection is best, especially for spiders. However, a few caveats. Evidence suggests that the risk of major central venous line complications, particularly line-related bloodstream infections in spiders, is lower when the subclavian approach is used. Coagulopathy, while not an absolute contraindication, should be of concern with the subclavian approach in spiders because of the difficulty in applying tension to the abdomen while bending the fifth leg but otherwise it is OK.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


Why should anyone else be subjected to it?

Zachary_Mendes123's avatar

I really don’t think it’s cruel. I do it anyway.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I live in the tropics. We have palmetto bugs big enough to eat your dog, then bitch slap you on the way back to their nest. Sometimes I smoke a little weed out in the stables while lying on a bale of hay. You know, just taking a break from shoveling sheepshit. I lay there and shoot these monster cockroaches off the walls with an air gun. I’m pretty good at it, too. Pick ‘em right off. I never really gave it much thought, but the massive trauma caused by one small BB usually takes care of any suffering I might cause. But they leave splatters all over the place. I’ll scrape ‘em off one of these days with a putty knife, I suppose. Maybe before I whitewash the place. Maybe paint like big cannabis bushes all over the walls. A cannabis jungle, with big, fat, juicy tops. I’ll do the leaves in dayglo green and the hairy seed clusters in deep purple with some pink. Yeah. That would be cool. I prefer indica for the body body high, but all they got down here is this sticky orange Jamacan shit that smells like skunk. But it does the job. I suspect it’s sativa, though, from the effects. Can’t drive for shit after a coupla hits. Oh, well. What can you do. I’ll do the whole ceiling in bright Caribbean blue. Little puffy white clouds. I need to put a sound system in there.

Aethelwine's avatar

I love it when old threads are resurrected.

kritiper's avatar

No. The bug may live if he/she can drag himself/herself out of the sewer. I call the act ” a sea cruise.”

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther