My True Confession as a Murderer

English: Hydrophilidae water beetle, Nagerhole...

English: Hydrophilidae water beetle, Nagerhole, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am hoping that most of the insects I collected were are on their way out, and that I honored them in some way by preserving them for scientific purposes.  I could NEVER do this again! But I must confess and ask forgiveness from the Universe.  Their bodies are locked away in two glass display boxes…when it is found, you will know the sad circumstances of how the collections  came to be.

I was in third grade, when Sister Le Claire, my sister and brother’s 1st and 2nd grade teacher, was gone for the summer to take a science class. When she returned in the Fall, she showed me her arduous collective work of catching, mounting and displaying insects with their scientific Latin name that she had to assemble as part of her summer science course culminating project.  I was so impressed with this collection! So impressed, in fact, that she gave it to me! In fact, I still have it buried deep in an old trunk.

This amateurish experience led me on with the dream of becoming a world class entomologist.

Feverishly, I collected insect after insect and mounted the butterflies and insects into a carefully prepared box. I wonder WHY no adult stopped me from this dreadful practice! I have two class enclosures of butterflies and a box of insects still in my possession. I do not know what to do with them— and I feel like I am hiding damaging evidence! How much more damaging can it be–their bodies in my closet!

However, my killing came to an end one summer day…and I will now tell you why…

The very last insect that I attempted to display in a specimen box, was  Mr. Water Beetle, an inch and a half long, and an inch wide! I had placed it in the “killing jar” for three days. Waiting patiently for it to breathe its last. Three days passed and finally, I thought it was ready for display.  As this young child, being only in 4th grade—guess we were not too bright in those days!—I had no idea that I was depriving it of oxygen and that I was actually “killing” it. I thought I was just “putting it to sleep.”  Obviously, the implications of that phrase were also far beyond me! Then, after removing it from the killing jar, as it was so aptly described in the science book, I carefully wrote its Latin description and using specially designed scientific pins,  neatly attached it to the insect board. Oh my goodness, just to think I did that, sickens me!  In any case, a day later I looked at the enclosed case, and this dear Mr. Water Beetle was walking along inside the cardboard display with the pin in his back!

I reacted in horror!

I had this most sickening feeling that I had hurt a creature of the Earth! I immediately tore the cover off the insect box, removed the pin, and took Mr. Water Beetle out to the field near the water pond and set him free!

That day was the demise of my career as an entomologist, I can thankfully say,  and today, my confession to the Universe and my plea for forgiveness.

26 thoughts on “My True Confession as a Murderer

  1. tigger0198 says:

    What a wonderful commentary! I also collected insects while in grade school although I did NOT have the water beetle experience that Jane did.


  2. Amazing! What did you think of your experience?


  3. cobbies69 says:

    I think I would have done the same. I am pretty squeamish about this sort of thing as well,, my mother taught me never to kill,, spiders were always captured and let loose, just for them to return later when they got bigger.. just got a bigger jar,, 😉


  4. You were so much better than I was! I think of all those insects I killed! I do not think my Mother was on to what I was doing—ten brothers and sisters and my Great Aunty Gerty kept her quite busy! So, I took full responsibility for my actions.


  5. kayuk says:

    I had to do a collection for science class when I was in the 7th grade. Fortunately we had a choice between insects, leaves or seeds. The smart ones chose seeds and bought little packets with all the info on them. I chose leaves but some of my friends chose insects. I could never understand how they could kill them. In your case I think you were just too young to understand all the ramifications of what you were doing. On the other hand, the boys in seventh grade knew exactly what they were doing.

    I think in many cases people don’t understand that even rocks have souls, and they think no more of insects than they do of rocks. Reverence for life, because it is life and has as much right to live as we do, is a rare thing.


    • I am very careful since…I will take an ant off the floor and carry it outside! You are so correct—“reference for life”…every living thing has a right to live! You are a gentle human being–this I know from your words! thank you for helping me feel better about this.


  6. cyberbonn says:

    touching, can relate as a person who outsides bugs whenever humanly possible


  7. you are a kind person!


  8. Mich Smith says:

    I guess we have to learn some how that dying is part of life!!


  9. clarabetty says:

    good thing you don’t live in Oklahoma. I used to be squeamish like you, but you are surrounded so many bugs, who bite, and chew on you and make you itch like crazy and my dog too, and eat the vegetables you’re growing, You will take almost any means to kill them. I say now, it is me or them. The ticks here are bad and you can get lyme desease-read up on it! You don’t want it! So me and my family have learned how take them off us and the animals and dispose of them – I kill them with my fingernails and flush them down the toilet and scrub my hands as they are poisen. There is also the brown recluse spider which bit my husband in the neck one night and he had a red ominous looking sore that got bigger and bigger-he had to be rushed to the hospital. These spiders’ bites have been known to kill people, then there are the bees-I could go on and on. Right now we have a caterpiller that builds webs in trees and kills the trees-it is very hard to get rid of. They keep coming in the house and on our clothes-so it’s me and the trees or them! Sorry to go on.. but now you have the other side of the story…If you ever itch from a tick, flea or chigger (chiggers are so small you can hardly see them-little red specks on your skin-used to get them every time I gardening) you can’t stop itching! You might sing another story. I stand by the Bible where lit says we have dominion over the earth and its creatures – never to lord it over or be cruel, but we do have a right to protect ourselves from harm. My sister-in- law and her husband lived in Panama for awhile and there the cock roaches were 6 to 9 in. long and would chew on people while they slept if they were not protected. If your baby was ever attacked by these monsters of the bug world, you would do everything you could to get rid of them. I personally think bugs are a curse just like weeds, from Cains sin. Well, you really got me started this time. Just don’t mention not killing bugs and being gentle with them to an Oklahoam or Texan. And I have had so many ants that they were into the food if you lay it down for a minute -all over your cabinet. You don’t try to pick them up gently and put them out one by one. You try to eradicate them as fast as you can-hopefully with something that is not bad for the environment or to breathe or will hurt other animals. OK – I think I am done. for now. I guess I could have said “That’s a bunch of crock” Like tying to gently remove a demented killer gently, when he is killing your child. We are allowed to defend ourselves!! Of course sticking pins in insects or people just show them off is definitely out of the question and in most jurisdictions could be considered murder – BUT, SINCE YOUR VICTIM WAS SEEN WALKING AROUND, YOU ARE NOT GUILTY OF MURDER, ONLY MAIMING ONE OF GOD’S CREATURE. SHAME ON YOU!!i THINK YOU LEARNED YOUR LESSON AND IT WON1 HAPPEN AGAIN!!


    • WOW! what is left to say? LOL I do disagree about one thing–without insects we would all be dead! They are part of nature’s cycle!…you have brought up many interesting points…another posting is needed…lol…love your energy and enthusiasm in responding…smile


      • clarabetty says:

        We are just speaking from different perspective on the same subject, depends on where you stand next to the elephant, how you will see and describe it. Each person see something else. I’m sure we do need the insects, and I don’t advocate killing them all-just the ones that are bothering me and mine. See how selfish I can be. lol…
        Yes, I can get real verbal when I really feel strongly about something.
        I am smiling, you didn’t think I was mad, did you?


  10. Thank you for sharing this so honestly. I still remember some 50 years later the sunny afternoon i finally hit a sparrow with a bb gun. I’ve really never forgiven myself for that and the sight and sounds were more than enough to prokise the universe i would never harm a living creature again.


    • you have a gentle heart…i see that in your writing…Yes, all of nature has to be respected…I learned…thank God I learned!


    • clarabetty says:

      I had this same experience when I got a new BB gun for Christmas-I didn’t want the usual girl things. I couldn’t wait to use it. I seen a bird in a tree and aimed it and the BB found it’s mark. I had such a sick feeling inside my heart, knowing I could never undo it, no matter how sorry I was. I think that was the first time I felt that way-I’ve felt that way many times since even tho, I’ve asked for forgiveness and been forgiven.


  11. David Eugene says:

    I guess we all tried to be a “murderer” when we were kids. I recall my brothers and I used to catch dragonflies and put them in a jar for display. Then we eventually forget about these jars and found them dead days after. But we grew up and learned from our mistakes.. Great story as ever.


  12. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    I enjoyed this piece – wonderful! I was mid 20s when I sprayed to death a whole lot of ants (actually, the very recall is in The James Diary/e-book) & I felt sick, ugly ugly sick at what I had done, but I just didn’t know how to kill them and there were ‘millions’. It was really horrific. I enjoyed hearing your side – I feel better!


  13. Glad you feel better, Noeleen! I felt better too once I wrote it! Been bothering me for forever! smile…nice to hear the stories of others!


  14. Sharmishtha says:

    we all have hurt other living beings when we were small children I believe, except those who were lucky enough to have watchful parents who will prevent those actions.


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