How this small bug made me question the worth of life.
SPITTLEBUGis the name of this peculiar sap-sucking little creature (to avoid using other words) that made its home in my mint. Annoyingly, they will wilt, distort, and sap out the life of your plant's phloem. However, it might melt your heart to see its cute shiny eyes staring back into yours, confused to why it had to leave its home. What gave me the right to evict babies from their bubbly cradle during the middle of the day set me down the philosophical rabbit hole.
SEPARATION, THE ART OF WARI was tormented with guilt trying to understand how to justify my genocidal actions. What separated me, a human being, from them, a bug? A need to feel superior seeped into my consciousness, and I started to rationalise all the different reason why it was right for me to squish their tender little bodies out of existence. Divide and conquer is the art of war, separating us from them. Dehumanising the "enemy" to unrealistically degrading terminology makes it easier to make that choice. I knew this (as I'm sure you do too) from a very young age, but at this very moment, I actually felt the conflict inside unraveling.
These bugs, in order to maximize their survival chances, live in direct contact with their source of food, just as a human student would choose to live near a Dominos. They colonise and deplete natural resources around them, just like our imperialistic economic model. They form communes and hang about, just like we used to do before we started the 9-5 life. So what separated me from them? Sure, we might be able to read and write on the blockchain, but maybe they can do that via telepathy?! Who was I to judge who lived or died? I was consumed by Kafkaesque-like morbid thoughts...until my girlfriend brought me cake.
MASTERING DISGUISEThe Spittlebug is not an easy one to find, especially if they are hiding in a big bush of greenery. They disguise themselves very well in between leaves or if frightened at the bottom of stalks near the center of the plant. The tell-tale sign of their presence is from the spit like foam clinging between a leaf and a stem or where two branches are joined up. These bubble formations are incubators for the nymphs who hiding in them and feast on the plant. Despite being half the size of a fingernail, they are capable of killing growing herbs. They secrete the bubbles from their poo-poo hole as a way to protect themselves from predators, regulate their body temperature and keep themselves hydrated.
- The bubbles are thick and very slimy
- The nymphs can enter and exit their incubation if they feel threated and their nonexistent eyes quickly develop.
- As far as I noticed, their legs don't bend acting more like stumps and for that reason, it's quite entertaining to watch them walk on a flat surface.
- Nymphs have 3 types of colours: green for developed, yellow for partly developed, and white for early stages.
- The final transformation for an adult is to grow wings and fly off to a new healthy plant to start the whole process again.
- They lay eggs under dead leaves and branches, for nutrients and protection. The larvae hatch during springtime.