In the spirit of this April’s, Friday the 13th, Hulett invites you to take a look at some interesting bug superstitions. All sorts of superstitions and folklore surround insects. Always looking for signs in nature, humans insist on perpetuating some pretty amusing bug superstitions.
- Ladybugs can mean all sorts of good things
Take the ladybug, for example. Some bug superstitions hold that if one of these cute little polka-dotted bugs lands on you, you’re going to be lucky for as many days as the number of spots your ladybug sports.
- Money and marriage
In medieval times, ladybugs were seen as a sign of protection. Farmers were said to pray for ladybugs when aphids threatened to destroy their crops. The English believe that if a ladybug lands on your hand, you’ll be married within a year’s time, while others think a ladybug’s spots tell how many happy months lie ahead or how much money you are about to receive.
- Spiders are big on the luck scale, as well
Many bug superstitions associate spiders with good luck. Due to their industrious natures, building webs and whatnot, folks have come to associate a spider’s stellar work ethic with wealth and rewards for hard work. In England, one family of spiders, the Linyphiidae, go by the name, money spiders because, according to British bug superstitions, if one such spider crawls across your hand, you’re on course to come into some money.
- Spiders symbolize health, wealth and cleanliness
All over the globe, spider imagery graces jewelry, clothing, and charms, as ambassadors of wealth and good fortune. This good fortune and happiness imagery persists to the extent that killing a spider bodes bad luck, as Mark Twain’s Huck Finn tells us: “Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I could budge it was all shriveled up. I didn’t need anybody to tell me that that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me some bad luck…”
Because killing a spider in your home is considered such a threat to good health, wealth and cleanliness, some cultures practice a tradition of apologizing to spiders, before killing them, in hopes of negating bad luck. The Vietnamese believe that when you sleep, your soul leaves your body and turns into a spider. Needless to say, the Vietnamese tread lightly around their eight-legged friends and family members. Naturally, it’s considered taboo to kill spiders in Vietnam.
- Bee part of the family
Their association with productivity, industriousness, and creativity, bees form the central figures in many Western European traditions. Bees buzzing around your home or buzzing at your window signal the arrival of visitors in parts of the British Empire. However, if someone should kill the bee, the visitor would bring only bad news.
Bees became so integrated into some American and British customs, that they were invited to family gatherings, such as weddings and funerals. In Greece, if a bee landed on your head, your success in life potential spiked significantly. Also, if a bee brushed a child’s lips, the child was destined to a life as an accomplished poet.
- Bee sensitive and polite
Believed to be sensitive in nature to their surroundings, in Great Britain bees must be politely spoken to, as well as kept in the loop regarding family news. “Telling the bees,” a tradition that has regional variations, supports the practice of gently informing bees of their owner’s death, in order to preserve the health of the hive, keeping distraught bees from deserting the hive, stopping honey production and ultimately, dying off.
Dragonflies and Butterflies
- Butterflies as meteorologists
A butterfly in your home is thought of as a sign of an impending visit from your dearest love. Catching a glimpse of a white butterfly in some traditions signals good luck, especially a white butterfly at the beginning of the season.
- Dragonflies as positive influences
In some eastern traditions, dragonflies represent wisdom and in other cultures, dragonflies also indicate changes in the near future. As a spirit animal, dragonflies indicate resilience in changing times for those associated with the dragonfly totem.
- Mosquito superstitions geared towards warding off these health hazards
Bug superstition has it that eating green vegetables on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter prevents mosquitoes from biting you for an entire year. In yet another custom, making your bed on new hay during harvest time will keep mosquitoes at bay, as well.
This month, in the light of bug superstitions and Friday the 13th lore, we make light of myths and traditions that are ingrained in our collective consciousness. While living alongside beneficial and benign insects is a good thing, most South Florida homeowners prefer their pests outside their homes and away from their loved ones.