There are many strange superstitions out there.  By definition a superstition is an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear, or a belief in a supernatural causality.  Even though superstitions are not based on natural events or reason, many reasonable intelligent people still engage in their rituals.  Sometimes they have become so commonplace, or engrained into the culture, that people don’t even realize the silly little things they do.  Most people still say “bless you” after someone sneezes and some people actually get offended if it is not said.  Many people still knock on wood after professing that a particular unlucky event has not happened to them.  People readily avoid things that cause “bad luck” such as picking up pennies that are heads down, walking under ladders (although this is probably good from a safety standpoint), and the number 13. Many high rise buildings don’t have a 13th floor, at least by name.

October is the month when superstitious behavior abounds.  Black cats, witches, ghosts, monsters and demons are present in stories, movies, and TV shows.  Halloween was all started because of superstitious beliefs.  It was thought that the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night on the last day of the Celtic year (Oct. 31).  Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next year’s crops would be plentiful.  This custom evolved into trick-or-treating.  In honor of this superstitious (and fun) holiday, here are 13 untrue beliefs about insects and
related arthropods.

  1. It is bad luck to kill a spider, cricket, ladybug, etc. in your house. (Maybe for the spider, cricket, ladybug, etc…)
  2. It is illegal to kill a praying mantis.  (No laws against it)
  3. Daddy long legs are the most poisonous spiders in the world but they can’t bite because their fangs are too small.  (Daddy long legs, aka harvestmen, are not spiders.  They don’t have fangs and they don’t have poison.)
  4. Camel spiders in the Middle East are giant spiders that drag soldiers out of their tents at night and devour them.  (Camel spiders are not spiders either, they are solifugids and more closely related to psuedoscorpions.  The largest species are no longer than 6 inches and they are not poisonous.)
  5.  A bag of water suspended in the air will keep houseflies away.  (It doesn’t work)
  6. Earwigs will crawl into your ear at night, eat your brain, and lay eggs.  (Nope)
  7. You can use Listerine, bath oil, fabric softener sheets, vitamins, etc. to repel mosquitoes.  (Nope.  Buy mosquito repellent that contains DEET.)
  8. The average person swallows around 8 spiders per year.  (Internet rumor, not true.)
  9. You can use club soda, instant grits, aspartame, baking soda, etc. to kill fire ants.  (They don’t work!)
  10. Crane flies, also called mosquito hawks, kill and eat mosquitoes.  (Sadly, not true.  They don’t eat anything as adults and the larvae feed on decaying plant material.)
  11. It is good luck to have a cricket in your house.  (If you don’t mind the annoying chirping.)
  12. If you see your name in a spider’s web you are going to die.  (Spiders can’t spell!)
  13. If you do your own pest control, bad things will happen.  (OK, I made this one up.  But, it could be true…)

Search the Blog