Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

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frank k
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Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by frank k »

The bigger question behind this one is, if insects lack the intelligence and intention to communicate with humans (and other insects), then how would they ever develop skillful Dharmas and be reborn into higher realms? MN 129 says that through bad karma, beings are reborn as animals, and specifically in the insect kingdom as well.

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... -said.html
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Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"
Anecdote
I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"
I have five gallon bucket in my backyard that I use daily to water the vegetation with grey water collected from washing dishes, etc. So it often must have a scent attractive to insects.

Recently there was a bee drowning in there, so I quickly rescued it with an impromptu raft/small plastic lid nearby...
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by form »

Need lots of luck and heavily dependant on the previous karma.
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Bundokji
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by Bundokji »

I think beings in general have a sense of threats as part of their survival instinct, which can translate into more intimate or friendly behavior towards those who help them survive or ease their suffering. The significance of this is a matter of personal opinion. Loving other creatures and interpreting their behavior in a personal way is a harmless source of meaning and joy.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by binocular »

The other day after breakfast, I found a wasp in a small bowl of marmalade. It fell in, its wings were all full of the sticky marmalade. I poured water into a bowl, took a toothpick and lifted the wasp out of the marmalade and placed it into the water, to wash off as much of the marmalade as possible. And it seemed as if the wasp understood my intent. It held its head above the water as I worked the water around its wings. I was able to wash off much of the marmalde, and then I placed the wasp on a plant outside the house, to dry its wings.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by Sam Vara »

The question of the kamma of animals is an interesting one. If, as per the OP, beings can be born in the animal realm as a result of previous bad kamma, then what is the mechanism for them ever improving their lot? It seems they must be able to, in that the animal realm is not a permanent state in which beings are trapped for ever. But the possibility of generating good kamma seem limited, to say the least. I'm not sure that it makes sense to say that insects have intentions, or intentions which differ from those of other insects. Apart from animals which come into human contact a lot - and which might therefore somehow pick up faint human traits - it seems to be fight, flight, eat, and mate throughout.

I have heard a monk say that he thought that insects etc. might "make progress", but at an incredibly slow rate. Maybe those saved insects reported in this thread are feeling some rudimentary simulacrum of gratitude, and thereby starting on an upward path... :thinking:
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by binocular »

As far as I understood, being reborn as an animal is a kind of purgatory -- one is born as an animal to "burn up" the "bad kamma" that one has made while in the human form. And that it is not the case that while being in the animal form, one could ever so slowly make progress to finally earn oneself a human rebirth.
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by SteRo »

frank k wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:12 am Do insects communicate with humans?
No. But it does not take much ignorance to impute self-communication to imagined other-communication. Actually it's inherent in the conceit 'i am'.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ
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Sam Vara
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by Sam Vara »

binocular wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 8:56 pm As far as I understood, being reborn as an animal is a kind of purgatory -- one is born as an animal to "burn up" the "bad kamma" that one has made while in the human form. And that it is not the case that while being in the animal form, one could ever so slowly make progress to finally earn oneself a human rebirth.
Yes, it might be the case that a being is "rescued" from the animal realm by the good kamma they previously generated as a human, rather than that which they generate in the animal realm.
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mikenz66
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by mikenz66 »

frank k wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:12 am Do insects communicate with humans?
Perhaps doesn't answer your question, but humans can evidently communicate with bees, to the extent to teaching them signs with which to navigate mazes:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC311340/

:heart:
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Sam Vara
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by Sam Vara »

Communicating gratitude to humans might be a matter of speculation or anthropomorphism, but we are on safer ground when talking about communicated threats. There are beetles where I live which rear up and display their mandibles when disturbed. Today, we saw one (about an inch long!) threatening our dog, who was only being curious. It threatened me, too, having no idea that I had taken the first precept.
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by SarathW »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 10:41 am I think beings in general have a sense of threats as part of their survival instinct, which can translate into more intimate or friendly behavior towards those who help them survive or ease their suffering. The significance of this is a matter of personal opinion. Loving other creatures and interpreting their behavior in a personal way is a harmless source of meaning and joy.
I think children, animals perhaps even insects must have developed some instinct to recognise the threat and the friendliness. I can be near a swamp of bees and they will never attack me. However, I was attacked by bees when I disturb their nest.
The wild elephant say thanks and goodbye to the rescue of her baby elephant.
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cappuccino
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by cappuccino »

I have the feeling… insects are happy.


So I'm less inclined to harm them.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by Kim OHara »

Sam Vara wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:19 pm Communicating gratitude to humans might be a matter of speculation or anthropomorphism, but we are on safer ground when talking about communicated threats. There are beetles where I live which rear up and display their mandibles when disturbed. Today, we saw one (about an inch long!) threatening our dog, who was only being curious. It threatened me, too, having no idea that I had taken the first precept.
I've actually been attacked by a butterfly.
Truly!

Males of some species are territorial. They will perch somewhere that gives them a good view of their territory, and fly out to chase away other butterflies which intrude into their space - particularly males of their own species, but including any others which aren't females of their own species. And including non-butterflies - including me.
They fly out and slam feet-first into the intruder, which must be scary when you're a butterfly with fragile wings but, I have to say, didn't worry me too much.

:coffee:
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Sam Vara
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Re: Do insects communicate with humans? I rescued a drowning bee, and it said, "thanks man!"

Post by Sam Vara »

Kim OHara wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:28 am I've actually been attacked by a butterfly.
Truly!

Males of some species are territorial. They will perch somewhere that gives them a good view of their territory, and fly out to chase away other butterflies which intrude into their space - particularly males of their own species, but including any others which aren't females of their own species. And including non-butterflies - including me.
They fly out and slam feet-first into the intruder, which must be scary when you're a butterfly with fragile wings but, I have to say, didn't worry me too much.

:coffee:
Kim
That's brilliant! On any other site, you would have gone full drop bear on me and explained how you were lucky to escape with your life. :jumping:
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