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Every Creature Plays Its Part

When thinking about our relationship to other living creatures on the planet, most of us find it easy to appreciate our animals at home and those that are majestic and beautiful out in nature. It’s one thing to like animals, but quite another to like and appreciate some of nature’s most fascinating species - bugs.

We loosely describe bugs as insects; as creeping, crawling invertebrate creatures. They come under the order of Hemiptera. As a young child, I was curious to discover them under wood and rocks. My friend collected them, setting up an insect shop in her back garden. But then we grew older and bugs became less intriguing, and now, in fact most people respond to them with fear or distaste.

Some of our fears originate from knowing that bugs can tickle, bite, sting, poison, carry disease and even cause death – it's easy to forget how important they can be too! We are wise to know the bugs in our environment and how to interact with them.

We like to think everything has its place and purpose, but determining that of bugs can be challenging. And what about even smaller life forms, such as microbes or microorganisms? We know some can cause disease in plants and animals but others play a vital role in keeping our ecosystems healthy. They produce oxygen, decompose organic material, provide food for plants and help maintain human and animal health.

Ants for example are scavengers, they clean up dead organisms and some even pollinate particular flower species. Their sophisticated colonies divide up labour and work collectively to solve problems. Even ticks, blood-sucking parasites, capable of carrying disease and causing paralysis and death to host animals have been partly responsible for keeping certain animal populations in check. Just like ants, they are also a food source for other animals and birds.

For centuries bugs have helped doctors to treat infection and heal wounds and scientists have learned much by observing them. Termites, for example, build huge nests with built in ‘air conditioning’; engineers and scientists have studied them to learn how to cool our own buildings using less energy.

On a more glamorous note, caterpillars and silkworms make silk that is woven into fine fabrics and used to create luxurious fashion items and ladybirds can eat as many as 5000 aphids in a lifetime, making them a gardener’s best friend!

We may not particularly want to focus on our relationship with the tiny life forms that we share the planet with but if you are fearful of them consider taking First Light® No 4 Marlborough Rock Daisy for fear of known things or First Light® No 22 Manuka which is particularly useful for the intense reaction that spiders and other ‘creepy crawlies’ can evoke. If you are taking First Light® No 20 Wineberry to help support and improve your social relationships, then consider that a change in attitude towards all creatures great and small is also a part of this.

In turn, this may affect how you use pesticides or herbicides and how you remove unwanted bugs from your home. We may still wipe away the ants from our bench tops and use whatever tools we have to manage fleas and ticks on our animals, but we can choose to do this in as harmless a way as possible.

One of my favourite stories is told by Dr Rose Pere. It is about a group of people sitting around talking. The question is asked, “What is the most important thing?” and the people respond “Tis people, tis people, tis people”. A grasshopper joins the group and the same question is asked, “What is the most important thing?” The grasshopper responds “Tis grasshoppers, tis grasshoppers, tis grasshoppers.”

It really depends upon your perspective doesn’t it?

— Marj Marks
Marj is a First Light Flower Essences of New Zealand registered practitioner and registered Veterinary Nurse. Marj can be contacted on 09 422 0177, 027 612 5256 or by email: