It's not that our two states don't agree that there are insects that should be hated, it's just that we disagree on which creep-crawly should draw the most disdain.

Let's begin with a little self-examination. Are you cool with bugs, or do they freak you out? It's okay to admit to being bugged by bugs, and please keep in mind that you are far from being alone in feeling that way. I have a bug-phobic daughter, and believe me, the most dangerous place in our home is standing anywhere near an exit if she sees a bug (of nearly any sort) in the room. Move or die has become a family motto.

As I said, being freaked by bugs is very, very common. In Chapman University’s 2016 Survey on American Fears, 25 percent of respondents said they were afraid of insects and/or spiders. That’s more than the number of people who were afraid of:

  • Murder by a stranger
  • Sexual assault by a stranger
  • Mugging
  • Gang violence
  • Walking alone at night
  • Becoming seriously ill
  • Dying, in a piece called "Insects Are Scary Because Your Brain Confuses Disgust With Fear," offers up the theory that disgust for bugs brings about something called the rejection response. Basically, it's your brain launching an overwhelming feeling that you've just got to get this creepy thing away from you right now.

We’re disgusted by feces and rotting food, for instance, because each has the potential to make us sick. Along those same lines, the presence of insects often indicates that something isn’t safe to consume or touch. Over time, we’ve come to associate the messenger with the threat itself.

Now that we've covered why some of us (Molly, looking at you) get really freaked out by bugs, let's look at what bugs we hate the most. has a piece up at their website that takes a look at the most hated bugs in America state-by-state. Their survey of about 3,500 people found that there were 6 bugs (I'm including spiders as bugs) that really get to Americans. They are:

  • Cockroaches
  • Bed Bugs
  • Spiders
  • Centipedes
  • Ticks
  • Mosquitoes

Cockroaches are your big winner, or loser, depending on your perspective. Roaches are the most hated bug in 29 states, including our state of Illinois. North of the Cheddar Curtain in Wisconsin, they're hating big-time on the bed bugs. Indiana residents are also down on the bed bugs, while over in Iowa, they have their sights on mosquitoes.

I'm just glad that we haven't had to add Murder Hornets to our list of choices.


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