Regular readers should know by now: I freaking love wheel bugs.
Click that picture to enlarge it, sit back, and really look at it for a while. There's no way you'll ever convince me that's not one of the most beautiful creatures in the world.
So when I catch wind of the wheel bug being talked about in a negative light, I try to set the record straight. Unfortunately, this time, I could not set the record straight. This link will take you to the website for a local news station serving Pittsburgh, WTAE. The video on the page talks about the wheel bug and how one resident discovered one in her yard and was a little frightened.
Rather than trying to dissuade her of her fears, however, the news team proceeds to FLIP OUT. In what can only be described as an egregious example of shoddy journalism dipped in a vat of ignorance, the video goes on a two minute rampage warning about the dangers of the wheel bug and showing pictures of it to random people on the street, delighting in their faces of horror.
If you're a fan of insects and nature, or can at least appreciate their merits, you should be offended and disgusted. The video makes no attempt to cast the bug in a positive light, focusing on the slight chance that it can bite people. It's obvious that this was simply a filler story to scare people about the next "insect menace," after the bed bugs of this past summer.
A news organization should have more integrity than this, focusing on education over fear mongering. It's a disservice to the general public and should not be tolerated. Allowing media like this to be broadcast will only increase the general public's lack of knowledge and misconceptions about the enormous importance of insects.
In pursuit of remedying this, I have contacted the news station to express my discontent. If you feel the need to follow suit, just click here. The only information they request from you is your name and e-mail. Just make sure to tell them that you would be more than happy to assist them in setting the record straight, or you can redirect them to me.