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Insects

  • Butterflies ... not quite birds, as they were not quite flowers, mysterious and fascinating as are all indeterminate creatures.

  • Bees are Black, with Gilt Surcingles — / Buccaneers of Buzz.

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • c. 1877, in Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson ()
  • The matter of making christening robes for caterpillars, it is not a difficult one; the difficulty is to get a frisky caterpillar to keep still while one is putting on his christening robe. And then it is a problem to keep it on, after one does get it on. I do have much troubles with caterpillars crawling out of their christening robes after I do get them on.

    • Opal Whiteley,
    • 1920, in Benjamin Hoff, ed., The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow ()
  • ... we have to suffer mosquitoes the size of blackbirds.

  • Insects have had a poor press which has emphasized their role as ravagers, disease carriers or as nuisances. There is always an uncomfortable undercurrent of opinion that insects, in some fiendish manner, are trying to inherit our planet. Insects need an articulate public relations man.

  • The joy in catching butterflies is the joy of capturing — for an instant — utter beauty. The satisfaction of being able to let it go is immense.

  • [On bees:] Few creatures so tiny have managed to raise such unreasoning panic ...

  • ... the drowsy hum of bees / Comes o'er the clover like a lullaby, / Telling of rest ...

    • Mary Webb,
    • "Spring" (1898), in Gladys Mary Coles, ed., Mary Webb: Collected Prose and Poems ()
  • The centipede was happy quite / Until a toad in fun / Said, 'Pray, which leg goes after which?' / That worked her mind to such a pitch, / She lay distracted in a ditch, / Considering how to run.

  • Flies are the price we pay for summer.

  • Dispute no blossom with a bee / But give it glad priority. / Discretion were the better thing / Unless you too possess a sting.

  • In a bright day, during any of the summer months, your walk is through an atmosphere of butterflies, so gaudy in hue, and so varied in form, that I often thought they looked like flowers on the wing.

  • Seventeen times he had been attacked by those vicious insects, those aberrations of nature, and his neck, arms, and ankles were battlefields where small red bumps marked the final filling stations of dead but satisfied mosquitoes.

  • ... the garden was absolutely enormous. It had no design or plan, and there wasn't a straight line in it; it was like a blossoming meadow; from the house it suggested a many-colored sea of petals floating above the ground. Over the surface of this sea there were always butterflies dancing, rather like flowers detached from their stems.

  • Knowing you do not like my going into details on such matters, I will confine my statement regarding our leeches, to the fact that it was for the best that we had some trade salt with us. ... Of course the bleeding did not stop at once, and it attracted flies and — but I am going into details, so I forbear.

  • ... there is nothing like getting used to cockroaches early when your life is going to be spent on the Coast — but I need not detain you with them now, merely remarking that they have none of the modest reticence of the European variety. They are very companionable, seeking rather than shunning human society, nestling in the bunk with you if the weather is the least chilly, and I fancy not averse to light; it is true they come out most at night, but then they distinctly like a bright light, and you can watch them in a tight packed circle round the lamp with their heads towards it, twirling their antennae at it with evident satisfaction; in fact it's the lively nights those cockroaches have that keep them abed during the day.

  • If you see a thing that looks like a cross between a flying lobster and the figure of Abraxas on a Gnostic gem, do not pay it the least attention, never mind where it is; just keep quiet and hope it will go away — for that's your best chance; you have none in a stand-up fight with a good thorough-going African insect.

  • ... mosquitoes were using my ankles as filling stations.

  • Skeeters have the reputation / Of continuous application / To their poisonous profession; / Never missing nightly session, / Wearing out your life's existence / By their practical persistence.