Ramblin’ Man

The weather has been nice enough that I’ve been working outside a lot. By that, I mean that I spend a lot of time sitting in the garage smoking cigars while arguing with people on Facebook. The downside is a constant battle with moths.

I keep the lighting in the garage low and the moths seem to be attracted to the brighter lights, which are an old beer sign and my computer monitor. I don’t know why they irritate me the way they do; maybe it’s the noise they make as the7 throw themselves against the lighted surface; maybe it’s when they decide to flutter up and down my arms or in my face. I think most people would find that to be annoying.

So “work” is interrupted several times throughout the evening as I get up to feed them. And by feed them, I mean spray them with bug poison.

It’s not very sporting, but you’d think the incoming moths would see the dozens of carcasses on the counter and get the idea that they aren’t welcome here.

I’ve killed hundreds of moths over the last several weeks. So many that I thought I should do a little research to see what kind of damage I’m doing to the world’s ecosystem. Turns out, it’s not much.

While moths can be helpful in pollination of plants, most of them are just a food source for birds, spiders and other insects. There are about 165,000 different species of moths in the world; the ones I’m dealing with seem to be from the same family. They’re an ugly cousin to the butterfly.

My agitators apparently are gray sphinx moths. I’ve looked online for at least 5 minutes to try to find out if there is any reason to not kill them. I think most insects have some purpose in the food chain. Like bees. Bees have been on a decline, which concerns a lot of people in the science world because they’re essential in pollination and also produce honey and spread seeds. It’s estimated that a third of the food we eat is dependent on bees. I like to eat, so I try not to kill bees.

Spiders, too, play a big role in controlling the insect population. So, unless it’s in the house or threatening me, I leave spiders alone.

Ants are pretty harmless and do a pretty good job of carrying away dead insects and such. Get enough of them together, they could carry off a cow. So, I don’t have a beef with ants.

Moths, though, are basically worthless. I searched online for “why are moths important” and came up with some interesting tidbits, but “interesting” is not the same as “important.” Mostly, they just serve to annoy me.

Of course, there’s the concern that the spray I use could kill other insects in the vicinity of the moths. I haven’t been concerned enough to stop.

There are lots of insects that can “bug” people, but I think the use of the word “bug” as an annoyance probably stems from moths. And maybe sweat bees. And house flies.

Did you know that some moths don’t even have mouths? They don’t eat. The adult lives about a week and its only purpose is to mate and lay eggs. Even God lets them starve to death; how important could they be?

I don’t want you to think I’m some kind of anti-insect maniac bug killer or something. It’s just the 10-feet around my personal space that I try to keep moth-free. That’s all. Is that too much to ask?

And only at home. When I’m at the coffee shop, I’m constantly surrounded by noisy, good-for-nothing pests, but those are people, not moths. When people start treating other people like they’re useless moths, we’ll have big problems in this country.

© Copyright 2017 by David Porter who can be reached at porter@ramblinman.us. Following last week’s news in Virginia, seems we already do.