Bug Moms Makin’ It Look Easy
Instead of filling their bookcases with parenting books, moms everywhere may look to bugs for help. There is a lot to learn from these caring creatures, like feeding your children rodents or getting into physical altercations with other moms.
Okay, maybe bugs aren’t the best resource for parenting tips. But, we can say that their dedication to protecting their young is something to admire. Here are a few marvelous mothers to behold:
If giving birth to 20 to 80 eggs isn’t enough, earwig moms spend the next few weeks providing diligent protection of their young. Before the eggs hatch, the earwig will shield her young from incoming predators and do whatever it takes to protect them. Even if it means sacrificing her own body. These commendable mothers stand guard until their offspring reach their second molt. They may disgust you and they may be foul, but earwig moms deserve props for their undying devotion to their children.
Another sacrificial mother with bear-like instincts is the lace bug. Though her greatest adversary is a big bad damsel bug with a hard, sharp beak, the lace mom has no fear. When the enemy approaches, she will fan her wings and pounce, grabbing onto the back of the damsel bug until her little ones scurry away. She may not survive, but that’s what mothers do.
Moms do more than fight for their kids. They have to provide food and shelter too. Which brings us to the carrion beetle, who is known for collecting and burying small dead rodents. After harvesting, she molds her dead vermin into a cup-shaped nest for her young. But these rodents have another purpose — they provide the baby beetles with nourishment. Yum. Not only does the carrion bring the mouse bacon to the table, she uses regurgitated liquids for the second course. Makes mom’s broccoli casserole a little less scary.
Oh. But it gets much grosser. Wood roach mothers feed their offspring liquefied wood fibers and protozoans — from their bum. If you didn’t like roaches before, here is yet another reason to avoid them altogether. Give us a call, we may be able to help you with that.
Remember that nasty scene from “Alien”? You know the one. Well, that is everyday life for the momma strepsiptera. Unlike her parasitic wasp brothers, she only exists to give birth. This beautiful creature resembles an egg-filled mucus sausage. And during the birth process, her hungry babies eat their way out. This may sound horrific, but it is just another example of a mother’s willingness to lay her life down for her kids. It’s mostly horrific though.
Other insects have developed ingenious strategies to protect their young. Consider the praying mantis, who stations her nymphs at the top of a branch and waits below in camouflage to intercept any potential predators. When an enemy bug approaches, they have no chance of escape. The praying mantis mom is so ruthless, she sometimes eats her own mate.
The tortoise beetle works together with her babies to scare off any lurking predators. She has her millipede-like larvae form a dogpile beneath her. After gathering under their mom, these sweet bugglings defecate into hooks located on their tail ends. They then position themselves with their butts out. This, combined with the colorful shell of the mother beetle, creates a strange and treacherous sight.
Like a school bus with legs, centipedes carry around 35 children at a time. After all, they have more than 100 legs to wrap around their youngins and drag them along for daily errands. That kind of multitasking is enviable. But that many feet would also get annoying, especially when it comes to buying shoes.
Much Love for Mothers
It doesn’t matter the species — moms are everything. And we should applaud these creepy crawlers for doing such an incredible job, even if they do activate our gag reflex.
Whether it’s a tortoise beetle shielding her babies from predators or a human woman lifting a car off of her child, mothers are truly amazing. And that’s why this Sunday, you should show your momma some serious love. Maybe now you can tell her how much she resembles an earwig. If your local pest moms have been a little too successful, resulting in a bug problem you just can’t solve, contact Stark today.