Non-violent insect removal

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Non-violent insect removal

Postby Luke » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:33 pm

After I took refuge last year, I realized that I could no longer kill insects in my home and that I had to come up with non-violent ways of dealing with them.

Since letting bugs simply wander around made me uneasy, I had to find a way to trap them so I could then release them outside. The method I came up with is to use a clear, hard, plastic cap from a stick of deodorant to trap them, and then I slowly slide a piece of stiff, thin cardboard underneath the cap and the bug. Then I have to pick it up carefully so the bug remains trapped and release it outside.

I would be interested to hear other members' non-violent methods for dealing with bugs. I would especially like to hear how Buddhists in tropical places with really huge bugs cope with them.

I used to have an uncontrollabe startle reaction when I saw a spider or a cockroach in my apartment, but now I've gotten over that and can deal with bugs more calmly and no longer feel the need to indulge my fearful impulse to club them to death. On the contrary, I can now feel the same love for a cockroach walking across my kitchen floor as birdwatchers do for birds: both possess Buddha-nature and are examples of the miracle of consciousness.

I feel good that I can now be the friend and helper of insects rather than their executioner and enemy. It makes me think about all the negative karma I've accumulated killing bugs before I took refuge. Hopefully, I can atone for this over time.

After all, if we can't feel compassion for all beings, then how can we ever be worthy of the advanced teachings?

My lama's lama not only doesn't harm bugs, but also sprinkles his leftover rice outside near ants' nests to feed them while chanting mantras. He is a true inspiration!
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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby JohnM » Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:58 am

Well, for starters, you need to work on making peace with these guys, for the most part. :buddha1:

During these cold winter days, I let them hang out around my house. I just make sure to move them to a place where they won't be in the way.

If you live in a tropical place, then the best things for removing them would be to make sure to seal your home up as well as you can to mostly prevent the problem in the first place, and move them outside if you do find them in.

For serious problems, like infestations, well... I only know of how to deal with ants- since that's the only real problem I face out here-, hopefully my method will help you come up with more ideas on how to take care of various other insects:

1) Get a large bucket (the kind, for instance, that you might plant a miniature tree or bush in) and fill it with rotten wood and sugar water (residue only, since having a pool of water in the bucket will probably end up in them being drowned)

2) Place it outside

3)Make a trail of sugar water paste and bits of the rotten wood out to the bucket. (sometimes you can just make the trail from a place you know they come in from- or that you know they can find, and sometimes you need to create a small opening in the house that you make the trail through)

4)After a few days or so, check the bucket and see if there's a good deal of ants in it, and if there is then take it out far away from your home and dump it.

5) Repeat until you no longer have an ant infestation.

Also, I've heard of ultrasonic bug repellents. I'm not sure how effective they are, but they're probably worth a look eh?
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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby Potato » Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:30 pm

This device is called a spider rifle, but it traps bugs for release outdoors instead of killing them. You could even substitute some cheesecloth or other mesh fabric for the hard plastic in the trap if you are worried about harming the bugs ... rifle.html
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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:12 am

I've found that in summer, the spray of Deet a chemical used on human skin to repel mosquitos from biting, when sprayed upon objects does tend to keep away many flying bugs. Do not spray right on the bug as that will kill them. It is quite effective in repelling wasps from places they are considering as hives.

Thanks for the ant suggestion. Come summer I will try it.

I have become quite expert on grabbing bugs with towels and such. But come hard freezes they cannot be relocated outdoors. Not freezing warmer weather and I certainly do relocate them, to sheltered areas outdoors.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby BFS » Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:44 pm

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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby Dhammacat » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:16 pm

Thanks SO MUCH for this particular series of posts regarding non-violent bug removal!! This has been an issue for me for several years, and I feel sorry for the insects in general, because everyone wants to kill them automatically, and no one seems to care that they suffer and fear just as we do. I particularly love the information provided on the "spider rifle"? GREAT IDEA!!! I'm going to gather materials to make one tomorrow, and pad the bug-catching portion of it with soft cotton, just to make sure their transition is as safe as possible. I'm also in the process of sealing in my open-air atrium (for the winter), and so I will have a fairly warm place to transfer these critters to.
I am brand new to your wonderful site, and I know already that I'm going to use it a lot. Thanks so much!!!
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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:39 pm

Before 'releasing' them outside, perhaps best to check if they belong there.

If not, why move them?

A pest, like a weed, is defined by us.

We do clean away the odd spider web, but not the spiders themselves.

Equally, the badgers, deer and insects help themselves to our plants, and we have ducks which visit every year and sqaut on our front garden. I built them a pond.

I don't mind sharing my space with any beings as long as I can avoid them eating me. I have more of a struggle with the predators - should I deprive the spiders of their food by cleaning away their webs? It may save some fly lives, I guess. Intention is the key, but it's pretty obvious that destroying webs creates the conditions for starving the spider.

Life is full of these issues and I guess we can only try to do the least harm and be guided by 'ahimsa'.
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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Fri Nov 25, 2011 4:07 am

Only consider helping others and forget yourself. Master Hsuan Hua
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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby KeithBC » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:53 pm

I do essentially the same thing: I keep empty plastic margarine containers in which I trap the bugs and take them outside. Spiders get to stay, since they keep down the other bugs. I'd probably escort a black widow outside if I found one, but I haven't seen any so far. The margarine container is big enough for mice, too.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby Heruka » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:52 am

Blue Garuda wrote:Before 'releasing' them outside, perhaps best to check if they belong there.

If not, why move them?

A pest, like a weed, is defined by us.

yeshe garuda is right with this, we share our enviroment with all classes of things, seen and unseen, we all think we have a home there. try not to disturb things in harmful way, try and think of mutal benefit for all. its not easy, but this is where the dharma wheel hits the dharma road.
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Re: Non-violent insect removal

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:01 am

Yes..a accompanyment to this thread could can we with no violence remove sentient being of unseen sort or all sort.

In navajo for instance..... ceremony to remove spirit that produces illness, the spirit is removed and told firmly to leave by gunshot in their per certain writings we may find in tibetan buddhism.....spirits many being frightened by loud noises......

seems we may need to remove things of other sort as well..but no violence would be preferable.
Me personally having shot gun to cause loud noise to send away a spirit or two...but now regretting it.
And wishing I had perhaps just abided their presence and sung them song instead.

STill difficult in both circumstances to not emply violence. 6 inch tarantual and also 6 inch centipede in home this year(very wet at a certain time these things grow).....luckily grabbed with towel, but if not....death to both I am quite afraid.
A foot and a half skeleton of centipede running over this year on trail also...these things are quite frightening, and certainly we may not live with one...they would certainly result in our death or extreem extreem discomfort....enableing most practices not possible for a bit. If practice one did.

Black widows also many in my wood and coal pile. Knocking them off those things outside of coal and wood.... I must do always befor starting fire. Hopefully not injuring or killing them..but probably sometimes.

Difficult this being human trying to cause least harm.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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