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Beautiful Bugs

The time of year just before the rains begin sees a flury of moths and bugs come into the lights at night. Some are still there in the morning, as was this green moth, which actually has quite a lot of purple upon closer inspection.<p>

The Akha have a firm grip on the identification of scores of insects with whom they share the environment. When they breed, nest, and burrow are all known to the Akha. The bugs are an indicator of weather, blight and time.  Many bugs are useful to eat or as medicine.  Knowing which insects have a bite or sting is one of the first things an Akha child learns. Stings can be harmless or cause abcess and fever. Large bugs are caught for pets, tied on a string and carried about by the children as colorful flying ornaments.<p>

Insects which can cause harm to the rice crop are driven away with special ceremonies, never killed, as that can cause the bugs to call all their friends and destroy the crop.


Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation