Social Question

KhiaKarma's avatar

When you see an insect struggling, or in pain, what do you do?

Asked by KhiaKarma (4328points) February 15th, 2010

I just rescued a tiny roach that was drowing in my tub as I turned on the water. Then I started thinking about how silly that was considering the precautions that I take to keep insects out of the house. I can’t squash them, I feel guilty when they’re killed because of something I did, but I don’t want them to be in my house either. Also, it would have been a different story if it had been a big roach (but why?)

I thought about this awhile back as well when I saw a cricket immoile, missing a leg… you kill it out of mercy (or just because you hate insects) or just let things play out?

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38 Answers

rooeytoo's avatar

I kill them to put them out of their misery, quickly and mercifully

gemiwing's avatar

I would do nothing in the case of the cricket. Perhaps the leg went missing and he’ll be fine- perhaps not. I’m not entirely comfortable mucking about in matters I don’t understand or cannot see the big picture of.

On the other hand- I spent many a happy hour rescuing bugs from swimming pools as a child.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have done both.I saw a dragonfly being attacked by ants last summer.It was laying on it’s back stuggling while a group of ants were biting at it.I should’ve disrupted the course of nature that time :(

tinyfaery's avatar

Splat! Do insects feel pain?

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

If I can rescue it, I will. (Exceptions: Flies and Mosquitos).

Otherwise I’ll put it out of it’s misery.

gemiwing's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities agreed on mosquitos and flies.

Cruiser's avatar

I feed it to our turtle…let her do the dirty work for me!!

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Lost of times I’ve righted the critter and let it go on it’s way unless it’s already mangled and then I squash it quickly as possible. I hate to see things suffer if I can’t help them. That being said, I don’t “rescue” scorpions, spiders, wasps or roaches.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I rescue it if I feel like it will be able to live. Sometimes they die anyway and it makes me sad. I resuced a fuzzy caterpillar from my dog’s water bowl during the summer and I put him somewhere dry with a leaf to possibly much on. He moved around for a day or two but eventually died. It made me sad. :( In general I never kill bugs, not even mosquitoes, but if I see one suffering I will kill it so it doesn’t have to suffer. True story, once there was a big black fly in my room and I had tried to kill it with something but it didn’t die it just writhed around and I felt so bad I started crying, and then reluctantly finished the job. If I find a bug in my house I put it outside if it’s warm enough, if it’s winter I let it be. Especially spiders and crickets that usually hide out in my basement, which is usually all I find in the winter.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Mercy Killing… that phrase has always bothered me a bit.

PS, if I ever look like I’m in pain and having trouble, show me no mercy… PAH-LEEEEZE!

dpworkin's avatar


jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@dpworkin I believe you’ve just invented a new fetish. Eww.

KhiaKarma's avatar

@dpworkin ummmmm…ok? Well, I have actually heard of insect porn- cray enough. But adding the fact that they’re in pain or struggling adds a darker element. Whateva floats your boat, I s’pose.

dpworkin's avatar

Each to his fancy, said Nancy, as she kissed the cow.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

How delightfully bovine of her.

Arisztid's avatar

@dpworkin Has anyone said you are a bit strange today?

Jude's avatar

I put ‘em out of their misery (squish). I don’t like to see anything suffer.

Zajvhal's avatar

I generally don’t like to kill anything, but if you’re going to land on me and suck my blood, I will try to kill you. I pretty much stick to the idea of “to each his own,” insects included, but that being said, I will defend my own. If you’re in my house and I don’t want you there, I’ll put you outside. If you’re suffering, I’ll try to help, (unless you’re really scary or creepy looking, then you’re on your own.) Otherwise, I’m a gardener, and if you’re a squash bug for example eating my zucchini plants, I will hunt down and kill you and all of your young. I may be in danger of having convenient morals, but they make sense to me.

RAMesesII's avatar

Personally, it depends.
The more it seems like it may live, the more likely I am to simply move it outside/somewhere safe and let it be. The less likely it looks like it’ll survive, the more likely I am to kill it and put it out of its misery.

That being said, if it’s spooked me or something and my resulting slap is why it’s hurt, then I’ll end things right there.

Berserker's avatar

Insects don’t have nerves and therefore don’t feel pain, although if some part of them is missing or they’re being attacked, being perfect representations of the survival instinct ever since anything was alive on our planet, they know something’s wrong, which they attempt to rectify, hence what one may perceive as “struggling”.

That said, insects are strong and adaptable, but as much of any living thing, only over a period of time.
Whether I kill a struggling insect or not, a butterfly with most of its scales stripped or a beetle half crushed to death, won’t change a thing, and these will most likely become food for some other insect or animal.
The insect world is cruel, and I can’t feel guilty about either putting it out of its misery or ignoring it, because half of the insect world works on the aspect of ruin to compliment the other half.
If I were to feel something for one bug, I’d have to consider all the millions of bugs everyday who get owned some way or another, and attaching myself to a stray insect in my tub is cause for concern.

Insects are supposed to get owned and serve as a source of maintenance for other insects, it’s how it works. Out of ten thousand caterpillar eggs, about only five of those caterpillars will escape being ant food or solitary wasp incubators.

So whatever I may feel towards them, if anything at all, really doesn’t mean anything considering how their kingdom operates.
I’m not saying it’s bad that anyone might feel pity or the need to do something, just saying, you’re not making a difference regardless of what you do to it, or don’t do . But I choose the word you as in general you, meaning anyone, and not the asker of the question in particular, based on how I personally feel. (In relation to the question itself.)
If it makes no difference, you still gotta get it out of your tub either way.

I kill mosquitoes all the time when they come on me, and whatever house fly becomes prey to my sadistic cats or my quick enough hand has no bearing on my life or emotions. They will die.

I used to love insects when I was little, and read all sortsa books about em and went around looking for them everywhere. Aspiring to be an entomologist, my interest in insects was too great for me to feel anything else but curiosity, excitement and intrigue to consider empathy. (Some of my experiments were disgusting, and I once created a a Siamese Mourning Cloak Butterfly haha. Okay I didn’t “create” it but yeah…a story for another day.)

Eventually my dad got me a video game system (Presumably after being disturbed when seeing me make dragonflies eat one another.) and it all went downhill from there, but the interest remains, so if I did find a struggling bug I would probably feed the childhood intrigue rather than look out for its well being.

I guess I’m cruel, but leave it to a giant ant to cut me in half if it could haha. Not trying to justify anything, I swear it was out of interest…>_>

tragiclikebowie's avatar

They’re still living beings that have a right to that life, however cruel and short it may be.

Berserker's avatar

Be that as it may, that’s moot when you consider putting something out of its misery if it’s on the verge of death.

tentaclepuppy's avatar

Squish. Bugs are for outside places, not homes.

Zajvhal's avatar

The thing is, I think a sympathy or compassion for “struggling” insects (even if they don’t actually feel pain) is a sign of our humanity. Not to get all religious or spiritual, but I do believe in a connection between all living things. So the more we identify with other living creatures, even if what we think they feel is a projection of our own past experiences, the more we are in touch with the divine.

Arp's avatar

I often put them out of their misery, but if it isn’t too bad, I tend to try and help them so they can live another day (Which would be like several years in bug-time)

SeventhSense's avatar

I have a schizophrenic approach. If I see one I’ll pick him up and put him outside.
If I see a swarm I get a flamethrower.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have a really hard time with that one. I hate bugs, but sometimes when I go out in my garage, I hear a bug that has gotten trapped in the spider’s web. They buzz, buzz, buzz, but I just go back in the house. I can’t bear to hear it.

I have a regular pest control service, and they come in and sweep out the webs and bugs every other month, so I don’t have to deal with it.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Depends. If it’s pest kind of insect then it deserves to be annihilated(unless you don’t mind the consequences). I’ll make some exception for helpful/productive/harmless kind of insect(bee/butterfly). It doesn’t matter if you don’t kill them,other people/other creature will still kill them out there.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well I don’t know much about nursing insects back to health – I guess if I really saw it suffering, I’d ask Alex and we’d make some sort of an executive decision as to whether to swat it or to put it outside…Funny story: today my weirdo toddler comes out of his bedroom with a sock in his hand and crazed eyes and goes “Mommy, I just killed this moth on my wall” and I ask him “Why?!!!” and he goes “Well, it wasn’t moving so I killed it…” like this is supposed to make any kind of sense and I’m like “But so what?!!!” and he goes “Well I wanted her to fly instead” and I’m like “Well then you should just shooed her not killed her” and we had to have a whole conversation as to why his logic was faulty.

borderline_blonde's avatar

I have a huge phobia of insects, so I typically freak out, rush to higher ground, and yell for some less neurotic member of my family to deal with it. However, one time I did smash a hammer through a wall to get a cricket out (once it escaped, my brother put it outside to resume its cricket life).

Arp's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir, I recall when I was about 7, I saw a butterfly lying on the ground. I thought it was dead, but then I saw it fluttering helplessly in circles. I picked it up and saw it had a small tear in one of its wings, and was wet from the puddle it fell in. I kept it with me and held it until it was dry, and attempted to smooth over the tear on its wings gently with my index finger. I held it up as I could (Maybe 4 and a half feet, tops) and lets it perch on my fingers. It hesitated, and began flapping slowly, still clinging to my fingers. It finally let go, and off it went. I am not sure if it survived, but whenever I see a butterfly, that is the first memory that come to my head (And yes, I know it is quite sappy).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Arp sappy is good sometimes, :) especially in connection to relating to nature

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@Arp that’s beautiful

Merriment's avatar

I once kept a grounded butterfly (don’t know why he couldn’t fly) alive for weeks by feeding him hummingbird food through a straw…..It was fascinating to see him sip delicately at the nectar with his proboscis.

As you can imagine I’m far more apt to rescue and release/relocate than I am to “splat” them.

I can swat a fly but I can’t let one drown…

Coloma's avatar

I love bugs!

My favs. are jumping spiders!
I usually will take the time to rescue, put out, or dispose of anything in need.

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