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Old 07-15-2016, 03:20 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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Why are people afraid of bugs?

Why are people afraid of bugs? The recent flapdoodle over cats’ fear of cucumbers (mistaken, it would seem, for snakes) would seem to throw some weight in the “Nature” pan.
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2016, 12:20 AM
SisterofMax SisterofMax is offline
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Why are People Afraid of Bugs?

Why overthink it, Cecil? Face it, bugs are creepy, and icky. People aren't afraid of lions, etc. because a lion probably isn't going to crawl over you in the middle of the night, even if you live in Africa. (I do like some some bugs, such as cicadas.)

Years ago, I read an interesting fact about the first two Indiana Jones movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The first movie, of course, featured snakes. The second movie featured bugs and various creepy crawlies. According the article I read, actors, etc. were more creeped out by the bugs in the second movie than the snakes in the first.
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:16 AM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is online now
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Because "If looks could kill..."
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:24 AM
Procrustus Procrustus is online now
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Probably because they crawl into your ears while you sleep and dig into your brain to lay eggs.
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:47 AM
Channing Idaho Banks Channing Idaho Banks is offline
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When problem with bugs is that when you see one you have to then wonder where the other 9,999 are.
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Old 07-16-2016, 11:14 AM
eastcheap eastcheap is offline
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Originally Posted by SisterofMax View Post
Why overthink it, Cecil? Face it, bugs are creepy, and icky.
Sort of begs the question, doesn't it? Why are they icky?

And, in particular, why are some potentially beneficial critters, like centipedes, spiders, and even cockroaches reviled, while really deadly ones, e.g. mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks, have historically been tolerated? I suspect a lot of folks would prefer houseflies to spiders too, but that's a close call.

If it's evolutionary, rather than cultural, it sure seems to fall into the "stupid design" category.
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Old 07-16-2016, 11:23 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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And, in particular, why are some potentially beneficial critters, like centipedes, spiders, and even cockroaches reviled
The enemy of my enemy may be my friend, but that doesn't mean I want to socialize with him.
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Old 07-16-2016, 12:22 PM
dtilque dtilque is online now
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If it's nature, then why isn't everyone creeped out by insects and spiders?
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Old 07-16-2016, 02:33 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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Originally Posted by Channing Idaho Banks View Post
When problem with bugs is that when you see one you have to then wonder where the other 9,999 are.
This is my issue. If I find a spider in my home, I am not very worried about that single spider. It is the egg sack that keeps me on my toes.
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Old 07-16-2016, 02:52 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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It's a good column. I believe, though, that it went a bit too far in saying that nobody is afraid of birds. Some people do have a deep-seated fear of birds. I've known a few of them. Probably more than a few, if you think about it. People don't tell everybody what their fears are. There are cruel pranksters out there who will find a chance to terrify them.
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Old 07-16-2016, 03:07 PM
waddlingeagle waddlingeagle is offline
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People are afraid of what they have a bad experience with. Not that many people are bitten by mice. Few people are bitten by birds, Alfred Hitchcock and farmworkers notwithstanding. But everyone is bitten by bugs. Frequently. And while the bites are not generally all that dangerous, they can be painful. And the itch. And lots of people get rashes from them. Or worse.

And not only that, bugs smell bad.

The real reason people hate bugs can be explained by old-fashioned Skinner behavioral theory: most of the stimuli we get from bugs are negative. So we hates 'em.
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Old 07-16-2016, 04:23 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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Someone or other remarked about a century ago that the problem with insects is that “...they’re like French locomotives—all the works are on the outside.”
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  #13  
Old 07-16-2016, 08:30 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Originally Posted by waddlingeagle View Post
And not only that, bugs smell bad.
With the exception of stink bugs, I have a hard time thinking of any bad-smelling bugs.

I like some bugs just fine. I am not too pleased with the ones that invade my indoor space, crawl on me, bite me or sting me. And while I think praying mantises are neat, I get the creepy sense that when they stare at me they're thinking "If I could pull this off, I'd eat like a king."
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:06 PM
mixdenny mixdenny is offline
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Why overthink it, Cecil? Face it, bugs are creepy, and icky.
For me, there are vast differences in ickiness between insects and spiders. I rather enjoy insects, and have had many as 'pets' such as the larger beetles (stag, rhinoceros etc) even some fantastic giant eyed elaters a few years ago. My grandmother had one of those jewel encrusted Mexican beetles with a gold chain that she wore on her lapel. You can't import them anymore.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCxDnlLL8dk

https://ptes.org/campaigns/stag-beetles/

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2009/02/06/eyed-elater-18/

http://www.pickchur.com/wp-content/u...red_beetle.jpg

We were in the brood of 17 year cicadas this past month and I caught many of them to show children that there is nothing to be afraid of. I was quite the hit at the local ice cream stands.

BUT.... I am absolutely and totally terrified of even the smallest spider. I have nearly crashed the car a few times if one suddenly appeared on the inside of the car. I check the corners of my bedroom every time I enter to see if one has taken up a position. I find a couple each year, it is enough to keep me vigilant.

I cannot watch spiders on a nature show. I have even tried to find a version of Spider Solitaire that does not have a spider on the card back, since it is my favorite computer game. I refused to buy an item from a company once because they had a very realistic spider as their logo.

Least you think I am just a scaredy cat, I have been a national championship level sports car driver and more recently, a practical shooting competitor/instructor with tens of thousands of rounds of shooting experience. while diving for cover, rolling on the ground. etc.

I have been in a rally car that flipped off a mountainside, and another that sank in a river. Upside down. Through the ice. Didn't faze me one bit and I can't even swim.


Dennis (wanted to be an entomologist at one time).
  #15  
Old 07-18-2016, 12:53 AM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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Originally Posted by SisterofMax View Post
Why overthink it, Cecil? Face it, bugs are creepy, and icky.
Cecil could be overthinking it but you are definitely underthinking it. Saying people are afraid of bugs because they are creepy and icky is just begging the question. It's like saying the reason something is hot is because it has a high temperature.
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Old 07-18-2016, 08:36 AM
snowthx snowthx is offline
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Most insects we encounter are small, fast, and make unpredictable movements. A lot of them can fly, and some make threatening sound. Like bees. I used to have mortal fear of them after getting stung once as a kid. As an adult I learned more about them and the fear subsided. Although, when one is buzzing near me I still have to check myself. Still afraid of other stinging insects, but not mice, spiders, or snakes. Go figure.

Last edited by snowthx; 07-18-2016 at 08:37 AM.
  #17  
Old 07-18-2016, 10:19 AM
waddlingeagle waddlingeagle is offline
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With the exception of stink bugs, I have a hard time thinking of any bad-smelling bugs.
Many bugs give off a very foul oder if disturbed. Lady beetles, for example. Multiply by that by the thousands of lady beetles in a typical home invasion and you have a real problem.

Then there's the termites, the carpenter ants, and other destructive pests. There is something appalling about seeing strings of termite nests hanging from your ceiling.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:01 PM
Randolph Randolph is offline
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Few people have good bug associations. It's nothing but neutral or bad news all the way down. (Unless you're an entomologist or exterminator or something.)

Maybe if we ate bugs like some cultures, we'd see them differently. ("Look! It's like home delivery! *crunch* Yum...")
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Old 07-18-2016, 03:34 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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It's a good column. I believe, though, that it went a bit too far in saying that nobody is afraid of birds. Some people do have a deep-seated fear of birds. I've known a few of them. Probably more than a few, if you think about it. People don't tell everybody what their fears are. There are cruel pranksters out there who will find a chance to terrify them.
Yeah I know two. Both of them have big dogs. One of them has an angry, aggressive dog (a rescue). Yet they're afraid of birds. I really don't get it. I like dogs, but A bird will not fuck up your face (and your balls) the way a dog can.
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:13 PM
mistymage mistymage is offline
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Yeah I know two. Both of them have big dogs. One of them has an angry, aggressive dog (a rescue). Yet they're afraid of birds. I really don't get it. I like dogs, but A bird will not fuck up your face (and your balls) the way a dog can.
The bigger ones can. Our cockatoo has enough beak power to bite off a pinky finger. And, while he isn't a raptor, his beak is sharp enough that the one time he flew over to land on Mistermage's shoulder and missed... he grabbed on and left a nice bloody gouge down Mistermage's back. He breaks the welded bars out of his cages (2 regular California King Large Parrot cages and one that had wrought iron bars). He can crack open a coconut.

Then there were the guard geese at my uncle's farm. Or the swans at the local park. Or even the hummingbirds at my feeders (they like me... they dive bomb my sons).

Birds poo while flying, you don't usually see them until they spook up in front of you and most people never get near a bird (unless it is a pet) and so one can begin to understand the fear. Dodging invisible flying crap machines can be... scary.
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Old 07-18-2016, 05:50 PM
snfaulkner snfaulkner is online now
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Probably because they crawl into your ears while you sleep and dig into your brain to lay eggs.
This. 1,000,000% this.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:06 PM
Trancephalic Trancephalic is offline
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I think there's enough negative stigmas attached to owls to qualify them as scary.

as for bugs, unlike a tiger which has the same number of features that you do (give or take a tail), bugs have six to our four limbs, and five to or meager two eyes. spiders are even more alien with eight limbs and eight eyes.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:17 PM
snfaulkner snfaulkner is online now
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I think there's enough negative stigmas attached to owls to qualify them as scary.

as for bugs, unlike a tiger which has the same number of features that you do (give or take a tail), bugs have six to our four limbs, and five to or meager two eyes. spiders are even more alien with eight limbs and eight eyes.
And their skeleton is...is..on the OUTSIDE! yech!
  #24  
Old 07-20-2016, 07:44 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quoth waddlingeagle:

People are afraid of what they have a bad experience with. Not that many people are bitten by mice.
And yet, many people are afraid of mice, too.
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Old 07-21-2016, 03:07 AM
Sangahyando Sangahyando is offline
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Someone or other remarked about a century ago that the problem with insects is that “...they’re like French locomotives—all the works are on the outside.”
I love this ! Am moved to give a quote expressing a thought along similar lines – comparing the same things, but in the other direction. It concerns a wilder part of Europe, than France: comes from a long-ago travel book by Jan and Cora Gordon, about their experiences in the 1920s of the then new state of Yugoslavia. They had travelled to Sarajevo by the long narrow-gauge rail route which in those days ran southward to that city, out of Croatia.

They write: “The engine, a strange-looking construction... was running back along a parallel line. Topped by a fat bonneted funnel, with tiny wheels and an elaboration of complex and ingenious external machinery, it made one think of some illustration of African entomology, one of those long-legged beetles of the Congo, for it moved with a ridiculous agitation of mobile members compared with the visible motion achieved.”
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Old 07-21-2016, 08:10 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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I am extremely allergic to any type of bug bite. I break out in huge itchy welts that expel yellow liquid, pus, and blood before they crust over. Of course I'm scared of bugs.
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:15 PM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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From the bug's viewpoint - If you had to live where there were big monsters walking around who outweighed you by about a million to one, wouldn't you evolve a strategy to scare the hell out of the monsters?
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