#194 When insects are struggling to do something and you help them

Picture this.

You’re biking down the leaf-slicked sidestreets of your hometown when you suddenly lose your balance and fly head first over the handlebars straight into the curb. You smack it hard and are left lying in a twisted mess of bike chains and bloody legs.

But then! Just as the shock is setting in and you start getting your bearings, the clouds above you suddenly part and a giant hand reaches down from the heavens and picks you up and sets you on your feet. Then the hand zooms away and you’re left standing in the middle of the road all dazed and confused.

That’s what I picture it must have felt like to the upside-down beetle I flipped back over the other day. Yes, he was just lying on his back like a fool, arms and legs frantically pawing the air in a terrible attempt to flip over. Well I flicked him a bit and he flipped over before scampering away to safety.

Hey, sometimes insects just need our help.

Next time you release a fly from its Between-Sliding-Glass-Doors Prison or let a bumblebee banging its skull against your bedroom window buzz away, just stop to enjoy the moment of helping a fellow living thing out. After all, we’re all sharing the same planet, we’re all sharing the same sun, and it’s great helping an insect do something, so it can get its doing something done.


Thank you for making The Book of (Even More) Awesome a bestseller for three straight months!

Photos from: here and here

46 thoughts on “#194 When insects are struggling to do something and you help them

  1. Don’t you just feel like the biggest hero when you rescue a ladybug from a swimming pool? I know I do. :D

    (Also, something has recently occured to me: Neil, I believe, posts at 12midnight every weekday, but here in Oz, the time is 2pm, which means I can easily check his awesome posts the moment they arrive… But to you American followers who catch his posts just as quickly: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! It’s midnight! Go to bed, crazy people!)

    …That is all. Nighty-night!

    1. Are you in Australia?
      Oh, I can’t stay up until midnight anymore, at least not on a regular basis. Every now and then is ok, but sometimes I feel like I’m really some 90 year old woman stuck in this 25 year old’s body.

      1. Neil is on the East coast of Canada, “Aunty Bad-Guy”…I’m on the west coast, so when he posts, it’s 9pm. at my house…midnight for him!
        Neil is the only crazy one here;)
        Wow Bekah, 25 and feel 90…when I stay up until midnight, I feel 180 since I’m twice your age! SMAO!

    2. I’m from Australia too!
      I’m assuming your the east coast of Oz like me since its 2pm when I check it here too!
      I’m in Sydney & my lunch break just finishes at 2pm, so the first thing I do when I get back to my computer after lunch is check here!
      perfect timing! :)

      1. I’m asleep and have been dreaming for a couple hours while you’re sitting there eating your lunch.
        The different time zones-awesome!

    3. When I was three, I rescued a bee that was trapped between the screen door and the regular door. I wasn’t even afraid of a sting. Granted, I was pretty out-of-it as a little kid…

      To this day, though, I love saving bugs. ^_^

    4. I save bugs in the pool also, even the bitey ones. I’ll probably slap them down later, but when they are struggling, it’s truce time.

  2. I love this one.
    I saved a bumblebee from drowning in the pool earlier this week and it landed on me after its wings dried (I’m TERRIFIED of them) and just flew away peacefully after a few minutes, as if to say “hey, thanks!” It really was awesome.

    1. It probably knew you were terrified. It just wanted to say, “I won’t sting you, bro. We’re cool now.” :)

  3. Somebody kicked an identical beetle on a job site recently and I said, “Hey, those beetles are sacred!” (only in a harsher tone than that). I walked over and found it laying on its back, exactly the same as in the picture; picked it up and took it to a soft mossy spot by a rose bush and watched it burrow to safety, to restoreth its life’s work. Egyptians believed thay are sacred and called them scarabs. Yes, we are all in this together~=)

  4. Was teaching in an elementary school the other day here in Japan, and a giant beautiful butterfly flew in through the open windows. The kids started freaking out and wouldn’t pay attention. So I went to the butterfly, caught it gently and released it out the window, and I got a standing ovation from everyone, including the teacher, who was also freaking out.
    The kindness ovation… AWESOME

  5. Christmas Beetles are the silliest creatures, always landing on their backs. Definitelt an awsome post.

  6. I’m all for flipping insects over when their feet are in the air and they can’t flip back over… or when a bug is near drowning in a little puddle of water.
    I know turtles aren’t insects, but I help them out too. Whenever there’s one in the road, I’ll pull over and put him on the other side of the road, out of the way.

    1. very clever Bekah!
      link your two different blogs to your name when you’ve posted twice! :)
      i love it :)
      & my mission is to find a smiley just for you soon! :)

  7. Neil was not killing spider’s, he wrote about vaccuuming webs up, which should be outdoors. It may’ve been submitted by a fellow awesomer and he posted it.
    He’s really got our backs; is the wind beneath our wings and Ambassador for Insects International. Signed, Beetle

  8. I’ve been known to pick rainy day worms off the sidewalk and toss them back onto the grass.

    But if you’re a wasp in trouble and I find you, your trouble is about to double. Or infinitize.

    1. That last line was pretty epic.. It was good just for the rhyming cadence of “your trouble is about to double”, but then you go and drop “infinitize”.. Love it.

      Also, you pick up worms on rainy days? I never realized that the jdurley I was commenting with all these years is actually a 7-year old boy.. weird.

  9. My friend and I once tried to save a caterpillar that was thrashing in the grass, covered in ants, and birds were standing by watching, waiting to go in and grab him. He seemed pretty worn out when we eventually left him in a bush away from the birds and ants but I hope he regained his strength, poor lil guy.

    I’ll help out a caterpillar, beetles, and a few other insects but there are some I will not help out, like flies, roaches, bees, etc. I sometimes feel kinda bad about it though…

  10. I was hiking with some friends a few weeks back, and one of the girls did this with a Banana Slug.. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_slug)..

    It was enormous, and slimy and sticky, and she picked it up to move it across the path where it was likely to get stepped on..

    I nearly barfed a thousand times. and sort of want to again right now just reliving this moment..


    1. OK, that’s in a whole different league from my worm-rescuing. Having stepped on a Banana Slug in the dark in the pouring rain once, though, I salute your friend. I was staying with my sister and her husband. It was raining buckets – the kind of rain where you’re soaked in 1 second, so I was trying to run in from the car as quickly as possible. Two steps down the path to the door, I felt this sickening *pop* under my foot. The next morning, my b-i-l, goes outside and is all, “ew, what’s this on the step?”. That, my friend is when you barf a thousand times. When you have to clean the squished banana slug from your sister’s steps. Let me add that 3 hours of torrential rain DID NOT wash away this slug. I don’t know what those things are made of, but I think it’s superglue mixed with the grosses mucous you can think of.

    2. Wait a minute. You said she moved it to the path where it “was likely to get stepped on”. Did you forget the “not” part of that sentence? I hope so, cause otherwise, I can no longer salute your friend.

      Also, I had to clean my shoe.

      1. So it was like “Super-gl-EW”! hey jdurley!
        Well now that you told your slug story I’m going to tell mine too.
        I was just 6 and a half; camping in the kind of ten sleeper canvas tent that took the first day to set up and a tarp is the base. There was lots of rain!!!!!
        I awoke, pulled on my jeans to run for the outhouse, said, “Daddy, I think a dog got in and pooed in my pants!” He bellowed, “Well, get them the hell off!!!” (this is really my #377) So I took them down and there it was, a ginormous black round backed slug, stuck to my leg, (my gaglia just quivered), I knocked it off but all over my thigh was it’s goopy-goo!!! I was the youngest and everyone just yelled, “Ewww, gross, get it outta here, pour the salt to it ans stay away from us! Then go jump in the lake and wash off!”
        Not being competetive or anything, but Do I Win? I mean this slug was at least 5″ long, blubbery and black…I was so alone and only six!

  11. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to bug helping. Living in rural Texas, my dogs bring in June bugs, grasshoppers, and cicadas, all of which I gladly help back outside. Wolf spiders, alphabet spiders and daddy long legs also get freed outdoors (not their official names, but what we call them). Little spiders, scorpions, ants, cockroach-like bugs (even if it isn’t actually a cockroach), wasps, and the like, however, are immediately destroyed.

    In the pool, I help every bug get out, because I don’t want to swim with it. Alive or dead. Nothing like diving under the water and seeing a bug carcass floating by. Ick.

    And I think you get VERY bad karma if you don’t save lady bugs, always. :-)

  12. I have a friend, who for grade 12 science filmed 2 slugs mating- very “Sting-like” lengthy and sexy really… imagine that!

  13. The best part about picking a beetle or bug up while it’s lying on it’s back is that you’re doing a lot more than just righting it’s orientation. Most insects actually have a circulatory system that only pumps their blood properly if they’re upright. So you’re actually saving it’s life in a more serious way than you think!

  14. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  15. I just saved a cockroach the other day. I passed by it waving its legs in the air a couple of times, but by the third time I saw it I felt it would be cruel not to save it. So I very carefully picked up the empty toilet paper roll and flipped him back upright…and watched as he scuttled away into the bedroom. (to be fair, this was when I was in the Dominican Republic and cockroaches were the least of our bug worries. if I ever found a cockroach in my bathroom at home, I would probably make sure not to release it in the house.)

  16. this one made me laugh so hard. i once helped a tiny little kitten whose head was stuck in a cheese bottle (guess it was licking the cheese and could not get enough). It was hard to pull his head out of it and i was afraid to pull his head off his body so i panicked and poured water inside the bottle. Although he kinda drowned a bit and coughed so hard (soo cute), he got out of that bottle.

  17. Hi, this is my fist post here, how odd that it is about insects, I have had two insect episodes recently!
    A couple of weeks ago, I read the account of a lama that got seriously sick, and the news started like this:
    “He was walking towards the meeting place, blessing the insects, as usual…” Suddenly, the image of the elderly monk kidly blessing the insects felt incredible warm and real…I am a Buddhist, and try to restrain myself from killing insects, but never thought about BLESSING THEM!

    And then someone told me the story of how a demon begged Budda for a chance to stop being a demon and move onto a kinder being. The Budda went into the demon’s past lives, and we could not find A SINGLE act of kindness. Just as he was despairing, he saw a very old life in which the demon had been a tiger. HIS ONLY act of kindness, in his entire life, had been to let a spider cross the road without steping on it. So the Budda called the spider, and it waved a thread that the demon could climb up onto the higher realms.
    The story ended: Never underestimate the effect of single act of compassion.

  18. Just the other day there was a butterfly with an injured wing in the road. I carefully picked it up and placed it on a sweet white clover, said if it is your time at least you will be happy drinking sweet nectar, if not your time, it will strengthen you to fly away and live again. Walked, then took the same route back just to see…and butterfly was gone! I like to think its life was saved:)

  19. So glad to see that MOST people here will help out a bug :) They may outnumber us but they sure do a lot less damage to the planet than us … read a quote by Amelia Kinkade which always stuck in my head “Please remember that every insect everywhere, no matter how small and leggy is just a little animal trying to make a living in the world.” Awesome!

  20. thats funny, just recently, after dropping my parents gas cards and subway cards on the floor, in an attempt to reach them under the computer desk i found a lightning bug, that seemed to be floating, still blinking like a cellphone tower in the distance. it wasnt until i saw the giant spider crawling closer that i noticed it was stuck in a web. i got a piece of paper to shoo the spider away but i was too late, the spider was carrying him away to wherever. but i didnt give up. i kept poking at the spider and he finally gave up and dropped his dinner. i scooted the tiny lightning bug onto my sheet of paper and saw that he was still alive by his blinking light. i carried him to the table where i thought all hope was lost because he was all tangled in the spiders web and ready to be eaten. as i looked closer i saw that with its free hand and tiny pinchers he was trying to free himself from the tight ropes that imprisoned his body. i watched in amazement and wanted to help, but how. i took two toothpicks and began to poke at the web between his legs making a tiny hole, with much difficulty. slowly i ripped the whole bigger only using these two toothpicks. twisting and turning them to manipulate the web and slowly free his back legs. once he felt those were free he began to shake his legs around trying to yank his feet apart, that were still stuck together. as i progressed it grew harder but i found it was easier to slip the web off his glossy backside instead of the other way, since it was more like going agains the grain or rubbing a cat the wrong way. after an hour and a half of this i finally had one more push of the web and he did the rest. ripping the web away from his face he was finally free! he scurried around in joy maybe. and i also croed because i was so proud of myself. putting the toothpick between his legs he was able to pull his feet apart and be a normal lightning bug again.

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