What bugs you?
Some insects may be harmless or even beneficial, but if we’ve developed some sort of bias, phobia or generalization towards creepy crawlers and looming flyers, our natural reaction when confronted with one, might be to either smash it, swat it or to get out of its way.
Sometimes, it seems like they are set out to get us, and if that is indeed the case, what can they possibly be thinking? Although an insect is tiny compared to us, and we look at it as nothing more than an irritating pest, there is one fact that we seldom stop to consider. Insects actually have brains. Although it is not nearly as evolved or as nifty as the human apparatus, the question still remains, if an insect has a brain, does it also have a consciousness? Can it plan, think, conspire and execute based on a thought process?
A cat has the ability to see us, caress us and interact with us. A dog is known as man’s best friend. Both show some kind of thought process, even intelligence. Communicating cross-species and engaging in activity with our pets can become the highlight for us day in and day out. Eye contact, combined with affection, the ability to communicate, and their most innocent and amusing nature makes us love them more than we love many of our human acquaintances.
Like humans, our pets obviously have brains, and in some ways, their brains work very similar to ours. Ears are also another feature we share with our mammal-mates. Recent research using brain imaging of dogs suggests that their brains react very much the same way to ours when deciphering emotionally charged sounds.
Most other animals have eyes, ears, and even brains as well. They can react and interact with us in a multitude of ways. In fact, there are very few organism that do not have some sort of a centralized bundle of nerve cells know as a brain. When confronted with a lion, we can usually get a feeling of what they’re thinking based on their body language. Coming face to face and not having a way to communicate effectively will most likely put us in a scenario that is the polar opposite of what we might experience with our pets. Knowing something about the species’ nature will give us an idea of the potential outcome. Bumping into a horse for example might result in a grunt, perhaps, bow or a dance in the best case scenario, and at worse, a treacherous trampling, but in the case of predatory animals like lions and tigers, we can best assume that steering clear is the proper course of action.
To get back to the point, most insects also have eyes too, and, however small and insignificant it may seem, a brain does exist as well. It’s tiny little thing without doubt but its there. One would think that where there is a brain, then, perhaps there is also a consciousness or a thought process at least? A normal every day housefly has what is known as compound eyes, each eye is made up of thousands of visual receptors called ommatidia. A fly’s visual coordination has been a scientific research model for over a half a century. It has the ability to pierce and suck with its mouth, with what is called a proboscis. Its wings can flap at 200 times a second, three times faster than a humming bird. It is the most common household insect word wide, and it can live and mate in any corner of the globe, and peculiarly enough; it goes wherever humans go. In many ways, they depend on our crap for sustenance and survival, and in return, it demands that we put up with its crap.
It has little claws on its feet that can attach to almost any surface. Upside down, sideways, right side up, no position is too challenging. It never seems to tire. Its biological gear makes for exceptional flying skills, and can it can even fly backwards. Its flying capacities are also the subject of extensive scientific study. Its biological mechanism is truly awe-inspiring.
There are many different species of flies, over 120,000 if we consider all members if the order Diptera with the housefly being the most common. What distinguishes them from other flying insects is that they have only two wings, where as most other frequent fliers have 4. There are countless unique traits a fly possesses that when considered, may be considered extraordinary, and even demand our respect and appreciation, but on some days, there is only one thing that is worth taking into consideration, and it is that a fly is the most annoying thing in the world.
A female deposit its eggs in decaying organic matter such as garbage and feces. The eggs then develop into a maggot feeding on its forsaken nest. In 3 or 4 days time, the maggot transform into a papae, which is like a butterfly’s cocoon. It takes about 3 to 6 days for the organism to develop its legs and wings while in the protective shell of the papae. The entire lifespan is about 28 days. The Process it goes through is called metamorphosis, which in itself also pretty remarkable. What is also remarkable is that they have an obsession filth and amongst other things, with body fluids, If there is an open wound on a person, pain and anguish aside, if a little fly puts it in its head that it wants to suckle on your precious bodily fluids, it will be very hard to deter it.
One thing we do know about flies is that they carry a lot of bacteria. The average housefly can carry more than 200 different kinds of germs and bacteria And amazingly, flies are considered to be the 2nd most pollinating species after bees, but somewhere in its evolutionary progress, it seem like its radar got jammed. As a result, it’s pollination techniques have taken on the characteristics of a disease portal, sort of a like a terrorist-pollinator. And it seems like it possesses an obsessive-compulsive disorder to it as well.
Does it sometimes feel like it has just one thing on its mind? To bug the hell out it’s target to the point of madness. Does it somehow make a perfect world seem imperfect? Like a beautiful sunny day at the beach when there is a fly that just wont leave your nose or ear alone? On the one hand, a fly can be food for frogs and lizards, so it does have some useful purpose for its existence in the environment. It does break down the decaying waste we leave behind and would like gone sooner rather than later. But, one would assume that what goes in must come out. Can it be possible that in a fly, its feeding habits have a way of coming out in its most shitty character? A fly feeds on rot, stink and death. It is known for spreading cholera, dysentery and typhoid to name a few. It has no manners and is very difficult to catch. And, the rotten cherry on top of it all is that a fly is undeniably is a low-down, stinking shit-eater with wings.
Yes, a fly is bugging me.
I wonder sometimes if the international community of flies have one objective that they have all agreed upon. If we are to imagine that they do communicate, which they do in fact, through taste and chemical signals. Perhaps then, they also have a coded message through the high pitched buzzing of their wings that we have yet to figure out, and perhaps they have some kind of consciousness inside that little head of theirs which is programmed for one simple objective, to annoying humanity to death. Maybe they believe that they are the chosen species on the planet and that the ultimate goal is to claim back the throne, and the chosen method is execution by way of irritation or more realistically, the spread of disease.
Is it too far-fetch to assume that they have the same tendencies of destruction and domination that humans tend to display, albeit on a much more miniature scale? Wouldn’t rats and roaches also fit that bill as well? If we want to take it a step further, how much does humanity really differ from a parasitic organism in the way that it has annoyed, sucked, bleed the earth dry of its natural resources? We would like to think that it is our collective consciousness that will prevail at the end, and put us back onto a more humane, reasonable, sustainable course. But I guess that depends on which collective will be making the significant assessments and decisions.
In any case, if we look at a species that is smaller than us as a nuisance or as a pointless destructive pest, would it not be consistent then, if there were a larger species than us looking down on us on the same manner, that we take on the role of the insect. This might be far fetched, but in a universe as vast and complex as the one we live in, we may one day come shockingly to find out what it feels like to be the fly, the pest, and the shit-consuming organism fleeing from the swats and chemical ambush of a much larger, more capable and overshadowing organism.
One thing is for sure though, in the grand scheme of things, when it’s all said and done, it will be the flies that will outlive us on this planet, the little shit-eaters probably know this as they cant wait to feed on what remains of us. We are indeed maggot food, so if we go back to the premise of “what goes in, must come out”, perhaps we are the reason flies are as they are. Maybe their personalities are shaped by what they eat. It does seem like they will end up having the last laugh since they depend on decay for sustenance more than we do, so perhaps we may want to think differently before mercilessly crushing the next one that crosses our path. Their ultimate claim to glory and hegemony is already underway and it is eventually imminent.
Maybe our only coarse of action is to better ourselves so realign the future evolution of flies. If we can perhaps work on bettering our selves as a species, and leaving behind a positive footprint, then maybe that will go into diverting the future evolution of the fly’s character and put it back on track to being more bee-like, a properly adjusted, rehabilitated, asset to the community, a model pollinator. Lets become better humans. Lets do it for the ghastly little flies. Maybe we can make its co-existence with future species more tolerable, and at the least it can be another foundation for us to lead by example and better our own way of life in the process.
All that being said, a fly is still bugging the hell out of me.