This is a true story of a miniature inspiration. A fight to live, against all odds.
Sitting in the garden enjoying fresh air, I noticed an insect in a pool of water. Soaked, barely moving, yet still signs of life and movement, the fly, about the size of a grain of rice, looked beaten.
I helped it into a small clear plastic box and placed it on the table. In shear fascination of its intricate body, life in miniature, I decided to gently blow warm breath over the insect in an effort to dry it out and help it move again.
For over twenty five minutes I watched the fly recover from almost no movement to gently and painstakingly clean its legs, body, face, head and wings of excess water. It stopped every few minutes to regain energy, often looking like it had given in. I blew warm breath occasionally and the insect slowly rotated bit by bit as if responding to the air and using it to dry itself out.
After about half an hour or so, time that for me, I barely noticed, the insect flapped its wings once and then sat recovering for several more minutes before walking about an inch.
Then, after a few minutes more, it walked up the side of the box across the length of the inside of the lid, around the edge and up to the top of the box. The fly sat there allowing the breeze to dry it out further and continued to clean itself thoroughly.
Could it survive, I thought?
Will it have the energy to fly?
I wonder if it will sit there for ages to recover or just fly away.
I watched and waited and the fly rotated, slowly allowing its wings up to dry out and cleaning small debris from its legs and torso. Its tiny legs, one at a time, reached up and over its body and its other legs, wings and head to remove water.
A few more minutes passed. Then, suddenly, in a burst of energy it flew, hovered before me and disappeared into the distance.
Wow! What more could I say? I was speechless. The fly’s desire to live was strong; it battled hard and pulled through. It could have given in, may have been defeated, yet it never gave up.
If a fly, the size of a grain of rice can do that – win against incredible odds, what are we each capable of?
The big fight in the little insect.
That’s courage, endurance, bravery; a miniature inspiration a snapshot of a journey that I witnessed and will remember always.
To catch insects indoors and release them try a small clear plastic box with a lid like business card holders
Most buzzing insects will fly away from you if you buzz back. Disclaimer: if you get stung it’s not my fault!
Interesting insect facts:
Wing beats per minute vary enormously from 300 up to an amazing 62,670 beats per minute of a midge called Forcipomyia
Fastest insect is the Deer Botfly which can sustain a burst of speed reaching 36mph (58 km/h)
Insects are the largest group of animals on Earth
Insects account for 80% of all animal species on Earth
There are at least one million different species
Over 100 new insects are discovered annually
First appearance of insects more than 500 million years ago
Largest: Goliath beetle weighs more than 100gm (3.5 oz)
Smallest: Tiny fairyfly almost invisible to the human eye
Most insects have three part bodies; head, thorax and abdomen and six legs
Insects feed on wood, blood, nectar, paper, shoe polish, seaweed and other insects
Mouth parts vary – some bite, pierce, suck, sponge, scrape, probe
Disadvantages of insects: flies can spread disease, weevils and locusts can eat crops and parasites like fleas and lice can live and feed on farm animals and sometimes humans
Advantages of insects: vital part of nature, pollinate flowers and source of food for many birds, bats and reptiles; without bees, no honey!