We Must Kill Every Bug

Two years ago at the National No-Till Conference an entomologist named Jon Lundgren got up to give his talk and launched into this incredible reenactment of a fascist dictator, complete with pounding on the lectern [1], shouting, “we must kill every bug!”

It was vastly entertaining, and of course his point was the exact opposite. Trying to kill every bug is a terrible decision. If we spray a field with insecticides we not only kill the pests we’re to trying to rid of, we also kill all the beneficial bugs in the fields. We destroy the natural balance in the field and open it to attack by other bugs.

We try to avoid using insecticides on our fields. I was out walking in our wheat fields this week and saw this.


Everywhere I looked in the wheat field I saw ladybugs and crickets, and wild bees [2], feeding on the wheat pollen. Ladybugs, despite being so cute and so cutely named, are actually vicious predators, devouring aphids and other bad bugs. Likewise with crickets. These bugs, the beneficials, keep the bad bugs in check. If we sprayed our fields with insecticides we’d kill these good bugs too.

The chemical companies push us to apply insecticides. “It’s inexpensive”, they say, “apply them as insurance against a potential insect outbreak.”

I prefer to let the ladybugs do it for me.

1. I’m 57 years old and I just recently learned the difference between a podium and a lectern. And I took Latin in high school too. Sorry Mrs. Hontz, I should’ve paid more attention.

2. The wild bees are tiny and I wasn’t able to get a good photo of them. I’m not better as a photographer than I was as a Latin scholar [3]

3. From the Latin scholaris, “of a school”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.