It is an undeniable truth that merely mentioning certain pests with bad reputations can send shivers down your spine. These are the pests that have horror films made about them. This is how notorious they are. One sighting can send most people running for the hills. You probably have the heebie-jeebies just from reading this paragraph and a sinking feeling that one of them is nearby. Today we are looking into some pests that have bad reputations but do not deserve their notoriety.
Spiders have had bad reputations for centuries. The way they move and all eight of their legs make people uneasy. Then in 1990, a film called Arachnophobia upped the ante. It made spiders the villain in their very own horror movie. But spiders do not deserve the reputation they have been given. Well, not all of them. While there are some poisonous species out there, the vast majority of spiders are, in fact, harmless.
They can even be quite beneficial to have around as they eat other insects that can become nuisance pests if their populations are not controlled. You have also likely heard several myths regarding spiders including that you are never more than six feet away from a spider at any given time. In reality, that is just not feasible. Scientists have determined that there are more than 40,000 species of spiders, but there is no estimate on exactly how many spiders there are in the world. However, it is known that each species has a preferred habitat, and those habitats are limited. This means that there are places that spiders are just not willing or able to go. So, if you find yourself in an insectarium, then there will most certainly be spiders within six feet, but at the top of the Statue of Liberty? It is statistically far less likely.
Besides having a comically disgusting name, earwigs have a bit of a legend surrounding how they got their famous name. It was once thought that earwigs would enter the ears of sleeping humans and lay their eggs there. This has actually been proven to be false. Earwigs do not purposefully seek out human ears for reproduction. In actuality, the name is a result of the unique appearance of the insect’s hindwings, which resemble a human ear.
With a tendency to be very skittish, only coming out at night, and an appearance like a very large rat, it is no wonder that opossums are rather notorious. They are actually the only marsupial in North America, which makes them a distant relative of kangaroos, koalas, and Tasmanian devils, among others. They are scavengers, so they can regularly be found digging through neighborhood garbage cans, which does not help their image.
However, they are quite helpful to have around as they hunt smaller nuisance animals like mice, rats, and snakes, even poisonous snakes are fair game for opossums. Contrary to popular belief, they are naturally resistant to rabies and botulism, so they are not know to carry or spread these diseases. And they also eat ticks, keeping their numbers low in any area where opossums are found. They are even known to eat fallen or rotting plant matter, so they will help to keep your garden looking fresh and clean.