Insects Thick as Fleas on Dogs
When it comes to insects, one thing is certain.
Everyone has an opinion! However, many of those opinions are not necessarily
based on facts. When dealing with insects, the line between fact and folklore
is very narrow. So narrow that it could reasonably described as "thin
as a gnat's eyelash!"
Back in the early 1950s, Lucy Clausen wrote a book
called "Insect Fact and Folklore." In the book, Clausen recounts many
tales about insects. For instance, the East Coast tale of how to kill
mosquitoes that are helping themselves to a meal of blood. Our instinct
is to swat those mosquitoes. But if you are an individual who has an abundance
of self-control, try holding your breath. This is supposed to lock the
mouthparts of the mosquito into your skin. You can then capture the insect
at your leisure!
Another version of this mosquito-capture technique
is to tighten your muscles around the proboscsis of the insect. The trapped
insect can now be unceremoniously squashed. Or you can continue to hold
the insect while more of your blood is shared with the offending beast.
Rumor holds that eventually the mosquito will explode!
As you might imagine, the widespread presence and
high numbers of cockroaches provide fodder for several urban legends.
Two old beliefs, no doubt, fuel some of the modern myths about cockroaches.
First, it is said that cockroaches will gnaw a person's toenails at night,
unless the feet are covered with bedclothes. Another European legend holds
that if a black beetle--another name sometimes used for cockroaches--flies
against you, severe illness or even death will follow.
Such ideas probably lend support to the oft-repeated
myth that someone licked the glue on an envelope, cut a lip and got cockroach
eggs in the cut. The eggs then matured and eventually the individual had
a boil develop at the site of the cut. Ultimately, the boil burst, and
all kinds of little cockroaches emerged into the helpless individual's
Another version relates that the infestation originated
from food purchased at some fast-food establishment. The general theme
is the same. An individual gets a cut in the mouth while consuming the
food. There are cockroach eggs on or in the food. And, well, you know
the rest of the story.
Of course, there is absolutely no truth to any
such story about cockroach eggs hatching inside a wound on a human. That
is not the way cockroaches live. But such urban myths continue to exist.
Cockroaches aren't the only insects that have some
rather gruesome lore associated with them. The insect commonly known as
an earwig is another example. An old myth holds that this insect will
crawl into a person's ear and bore through the eardrum. But it doesn't
stop there--it will continue, actually eating into the human brain. Following
which, the person goes mad! That myth is the basis for the common name
Even fireflies do not escape negative folklore.
One such myth holds that if the "fire" from a firefly gets into the eye,
the eye will be put out. While the chemicals that a firefly uses to produce
light taste bad, there is no evidence that they would cause such a thing
to happen. Another saying holds that when a firefly comes into the house,
on the following day, there will be one more or one less person in the
house. While it is not clear what one more or less person really means,
if it is a death or visiting relatives, it could be bad. But dont
worry, it's just another insect myth!