Insect Schizophrenia

### Reader’s Letter to The Guardian, 16th April 2021 ### …

Dear Editor,

I read Jennifer Johnston’s piece on “How to live in harmony with bees” (Guardian, Australian Lifestyle, 15th April 2021, link below) and strongly agree that we need to do all we can to preserve insect (especially bee) populations.

But my mind was immediately taken back to a surreal experience that I had last spring in my local DIY store …

Stacked up on palettes around the entrance were five-litre cans of “patio-cleaner” on a “two-for-the-price-of-one” offer. I was curious to know how that worked so read the ingredients on one of the cans:  It sounded like chemical warfare and I am sure that no pesky algae would stand a chance against that.

But, a few steps further on, I came across a sales-island promoting “insect hotels” with straw and drilled-through wood which would make perfect habitats for threatened insects.

So what do we want?  Do we want to save insects (and the birds which feed on them and the essential tasks which they carry out)? Or do we want to annihilate them with various toxic concoctions available both for our gardens and, even worse, used systematically on millions of acres of commercial farmland. All so that we can have clean patios and cheap produce in our shops!

I wish we would make up our minds before there aren’t any insects left to live in our nice “insect hotels”.

Alan Mitcham

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