Insects: dream or nightmare?

Dreams about insects

Ever wonder what it means to dream of butterflies, ants or lice?

Us humans come across insects on a daily basis, whether it is a daddy longlegs taking a stroll in your garage or Mr. Fly doing his rounds in your kitchen (again, sigh). It is no surprise that we dream about them too!

Many say that dreaming is the brain’s way of processing thoughts and underlying issues and activities that took place throughout the day. According to Sigmund Freud, dreams protect the sleeper from external stimulation and allow us to fulfill our secret wishes (like killing all flies in the world, mwuahaha!). On the other hand, Revonsuo is of opinion that dreams are a means of “threat simulation”, allowing us to come up with ways of avoiding threats (such as strategising the methods in which I can get rid of wasps – like planting a secret device in their nest that eliminates them one by one…).

It is no wonder that the theory of the connection between insects and humans have been explored as well. I came across an article by B.A. Klein – “The Curious Connection Between Insects and Dreams” (Published December 2011, in the “Insects” Journal), that says because insects are so plentiful in our awake state, they also appear to flourish in our dreams. He further says that insects in dreams are commonly objects of fear and dread, and that the connection can be seen in art, music, film, and literary dream sequences.

Klein further explores the dream interpretation of each insect. Have you ever wondered what insects in your dreams represent? Dreaming about flies? This represents a weak, lowly, & malicious person. If you are dreaming about ants, this can symbolise good luck, while dreaming about lice can indicate anxiety and distress. Butterfly dreams on the other hand can be interpreted as a feeling of creativity, romance and joy and if you are dreaming about killing mosquitoes, it means that someone has been draining your of resources and energy.

Talking about being drained of energy… I just loathe it when I am in the middle of a great dream and being awoken by an annoying mosquito! They seem to be irritating both during sleep and during the day. To me, being attacked by insects in real life is even worse than having to dream about them. In this case, I would rather practice both Freud and Revonsuo’s theories by dreaming up clever ways to get rid of mosquitoes, and then fulfilling my desire of killing them off in the easiest ways possible. If only I could apply these learnings to my daily life!

While some insects can represent positive meanings in dreams, in awakened states, these pests are waking nightmares to have around, such as mosquitoes (if you haven’t noticed that I hate them already!). Bed bugs also invade our beds while we sleep, and feast on our blood whilst we dream of them. Did you know that they can live a full year without having a blood meal? These are the things nightmares are made of! This also makes me wonder about the correlation between insects feasting on your blood while you are sleeping. But, that is a whole different theory to be explored on another day! I actually do want a peaceful sleep tonight – and also do not want to dream about creepy crawlies, so let’s rather not fire up the imagination.

My theory is of course that as most insects are bothersome, filthy and disgusting, we can’t properly focus on our activities for the day due to their presence. Because of their daily occurrence in our lives, they even pop up in our dreams. Dreaming about them I can handle – because in my dreams I am “Bug-Off Girl” and I can easily zap them with my laser beam eyes. Unfortunately enough, in real life I am just an ordinary squeamish girl whose worst nightmare is creepy crawlies and who is very much in need of the help of the real life superhero: The Rentokil Technician!


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