The Insect Magnet


Originally published at:


These gratuitous marketing posts really bug me.


Sorry to get all hippy dippy on you, but they’re poison-free because the bugs get stuck in glue and slowly starve/dehydrate to death. I know they’re just bugs, but there’s something about that just turns my stomach. I just don’t like seeing things suffer like that. Again, I know they’re just bugs and I’m the weirdo, but I’d rather it be quick and painless (or, ideally, for them to be deterred from entering the house to begin with.)


That’s funny, I was just wondering how to increase their suffering, so I guess there’s two sides to everything.


I get where you are coming from, having seen the obscenity of a mouse caught in a glue trap.

But I wonder if the bugs really suffer any more than any typical insect death. I have no idea how many trillions of insects die trapped in the surface tension of water droplets every day, but I’ll guess a whole buncha, and swatted bugs can walk around for days with their mashed innards hanging out. Individual insects have it pretty rough normally, their survival strategies mostly depend on very high reproductive rates.


Albert Schweitzer and Reverence for Life:

If I save an insect from a puddle, life has devoted itself to life, and the division of life against itself has ended. Whenever my life devotes itself in any way to life, my finite will-to-live experiences union with the infinite will in which all life is one.

Though i prefer the Mike Nichols/Elaine May version:


I used to have a few of these in my garage (for some reason crickets love my garage, and use that as an entry point to the house, and my cat’s apparently too lazy to do anything about that).

It’s all fun and games until an alligator lizard gets caught in the glue, and you have to use orange oil and q-tips to gently ease it off the adhesive bit by bit (all the while, the nasty little shit is doing what alligator lizards do and biting the crap out of anything he can). Even more fun is giving an angry alligator lizard a soapy water bath to remove orange oil…


I like how the bugs are attracted, yet all facing in different directions as a commentary on the alienation of the modern condition.

When I was growing up we just used to build our house on stilts over a tar pit.


OK, but if my house had a scorpion problem, my first thought would not be, “Hmmm, I wonder if the poison-free trap is ideal for my situation?”.


It’s unfortunate that we, still, have no especially good idea of what ‘suffering’ looks like; neurally speaking.

When dealing with reasonably cute animals, especially mammals, our instincts might be reasonably accurate; but that’s a pretty low standard and it definitely doesn’t get any better once you move out of mammals, and maybe birds, into fish and bugs and whatnot.

Insects certainly respond to aversive stimuli; but we are mostly just guessing at the difference between ‘twitching’ and ‘writhing in agony’. Given their fairly simple nervous systems, insects are probably among the better candidates for ‘looks like suffering; isn’t actually’; but it’s hard to know.


Do you really want to start a chemical war against an opponent with 430 million years of experience?


Fire. And lots of it.


Oh, I’m on board with the cautious approach; I don’t want to imply that I have any insight into nonhuman suffering. I find it best to assume that other creatures can and do suffer, and try not to add to their suffering.

My point was more that insects frequently, perhaps even usually die in ways at least as horrific as this trap. Tens of thousands die in a small rainstorm without any human intervention at all!


One time I caught a shiny soldier beetle with a nice iridescent shell. I put him in a jar to look at him and he was going crazy. Just constantly running. Tilting it around I finally saw there was a hole in its rear of the abdomen and the entire abdomen looked hollow! Sweet Jesus, some thing ate its way out of it, I guess. Or was it still in there, eating it still!

The three separate parts of insects can live on their own (for awhile). Fucking creepy as all hell. I ended up ending it for him. shudder mother nature is a harsh bitch.


This bothers me because the package design shows scorpions and centipedes – neither of which are insects. They are arachnid and chilopoda respectively.


Certainly. I’m personally not too worried about the bugs(and if it turns out that the bloodsucking ones are capable of suffering; I’m for it); I just find it rather vexing that, even if so inclined, we can’t do a whole lot better than guessing.

The “Wow, if a human were acting like that I bet they’d self-report being pretty uncomfortable” metric is not impressive.

(On the plus side, our ignorance preserves us from the knowledge that centipedes haunt and stalk us to steal our qualia while we sleep.)


This is why I read BB early in the day. Maximum time to feel the good feels until bedtime.


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