Bug Out / The New Inquiry


What’s crawling underneath the fantasy of an insect-free home?

WE who live in homes still strive for them to be bug-free, or at least occupied by as few bugs as possible. The proliferation of exterminators and other “pest control” companies like Orkin position bugs as terrible things that could invade your home. Their advertising suggests Orkin as the Superman type, an embodiment of “the father,” a white heterosexual male hero who will come into your home and sweep away any of these “enemies,” aka the bugs. He takes pest control seriously. He wants you to be safe from this threat, the threat being invasive bugs and other vermin. It’s not entirely false advertising, however — bed bugs are the worst. But the fantasy of a bug-free home is just that.

How did we get here, to a place where we make bugs the enemies rather than realizing that they were here first? We built our homes on the bugs’ natural habitats, so it’s no surprise that they will be with us for all of eternity. Sometimes, the bugs that find their way into our homes are benign. They’ve wandered in because we left a door or window open, and the flying or walking bug passerby located something of the sweet variety, or it was just harmlessly seeking water.

Read the essay here: http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/bug-out/