By Jason Johnson
Every winter, without fail, I have one or two additional guests who take up residence in my home. I’m referring of course to mice. This year is no different. After being viciously attacked by a mouse a few years ago, my hatred and disgust of rodents has slowly but steadily morphed into something of a phobia. That – coupled with urban legends of man-eating rats – has done nothing to help me conquer my fear of rodents.
Even though my fear of rodents may not necessarily be seen as a full blown phobia, there are people who live daily with legitimate phobias. While some of these phobias may seem irrational to us, they are very real to the sufferers and can lead to crippling anxiety.
Below are a few of the most common pest fears from which people suffer:
Arachnophobia (Fear of spiders)
I don’t know anyone who is particularly fond of spiders, but there are people who suffer a debilitating fear of spiders. While there are several species of poisonous spiders that give cause for caution, most tales involving spiders have been blown out of all proportion. There are only about a dozen spiders that have venom potent enough to harm humans.
That being said, arachnophobia is still one of the most widespread phobias with 55% of females in Western Regions and 18% of males who consider themselves arachnophobic. Eastern regions are a lot more accepting of spiders with some Eastern countries even including them regularly as part of a meal.. That’s one way to conquer your fear!
Ophidiophobia (Fear of Snakes)
This is a valid fear because, unlike spiders, snakes are actually capable of killing humans. Like spiders though, snakes have been vilified by urban legends and stories of massive man eating snakes. Most people develop this fear without ever having laid an eye on a snake let alone having had an encounter with one.
A fear of snakes is still very common among humans, albeit one of the more irrational fears on the list. A possible treatment for this phobia involves constant exposure to snakes. This may include placing snake skins or pictures of snakes around your home or even on your work desk. You could also visit you local zoo or pet store. This will help you get used to having snakes in your environment.
I feel like you would have more success just avoiding them all of your life. Unless you live or work in an environment where the possibility of running into a snake is great, you could live your entire life without ever seeing a snake with your naked eye.
Katsaridaphobia (Fear of cockroaches)
Unlike snakes, you are probably very likely to run into a few cockroaches in your lifetime. It would be a good idea to rid yourself of this fear as soon as possible as cockroaches are everywhere. In your favourite restaurant, in the drains and sometimes they actually just walk around in public. Cockroaches outlived the dinosaurs and it doesn’t seem like they have any plans to disappear anytime soon…
Musophobia (Fear of rodents)
As you can guess, this is my personal favourite. I always had a healthy hatred for rats and mice. Stories of rodents holding personal grudges and destroying personal property have completely exacerbated this phobia into something way beyond what it should be. It is true that rodents are carriers of various different diseases including rabies so while some of them look cute and fuzzy, always proceed with caution and remember that they are pests.
Orthopterophobia (Fear of locusts)
Given the recent outbreak of crickets in Cape Town, many Capetonians would probably identify with this fear. For a while earlier this year it looked like these locusts were planning a hostile take over of our city as well as enslaving us all. Luckily with the onset of colder weather, they slowly started disappearing much to the relief of those who suffer from the above phobia.
Which pests terrify you the most?
Do cockroaches creep you out, or do furry rodents repulse you the most? We’d like to know which pests frighten you the most. Let us know by voting for your top 3 scariest pests on our Pestaurant page and we’ll provide you with tips on what you can do to combat these ghastly pests.
Are you brave enough?
For some of us who would want to overcome our fear of locusts and other insects can certainly do this at our upcoming Pestaurant event in Cape Town this weekend! We’ll be serving roasted locusts along with an array of yummy insects such as meal worms, buffalo worms, scorpion lollies and crickets for those of you brave enough to overcome your fears. You may even find yourself enjoying it! See our menu.
When: Saturday, 31st May 2014 from 11am.
Where: The Good Food and Wine Show at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Follow us on #Pestaurant for updates.