By Kathleen Bookbinder
Here is a fact that will leave you “bug-eyed”- There are over 1 million different insects living on earth!
“Bug-eyed” is an insect idiom that means “surprised”. So what’s an idiom, you ask? Idioms are groups of words that say one thing but mean something else. Insect idioms use insects or insect behaviors to explain how people feel or behave. Read the insect idioms below and see if you can guess what they mean. (The explanation and an interesting insect fact are right below the idiom in case you get stuck.)
"You have ants in your pants!"
Imagine having tiny ants crawling all over your legs…can you feel the tickle? The tickle would make you wiggle and squirm. That's why people use this idiom to describe a person who can’t sit still.
Insect Idiom Fact: If you really did have ants in your pants, the ants would leave a chemical called a pheromone everywhere they went. When the ants finished walking, they would follow the trail of pheremones to get back to where they started.
"You are the bee’s knees!"
If someone calls you the “bee’s knees” it means you are really special!
Insect Idiom Fact: Bees really do have legs that bend, so we can say that bees do have knees! Attached to the legs, near one of the joints, bees have little sacs to hold pollen. No other animal has its own knee pockets, so a bee’s knees really are special.
"Snug as a bug in a rug!"
A bug wrapped in a rug would be warm and cozy. Using this idiom means that someone is nice and warm.
Insect Idiom Fact: Did you know a bedbug is the kind of bug that can hide in a rug? Some scientists believe a bedbug can live for 18 months without food?
"If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas!"
A lot of dogs have fleas living on them and fleas move from one dog to another dog very easily. This idiom is telling you that bad habits are like fleas because they can move from one person to another. If your friend has a bad habit, you might start to pick up the same bad habit.
Insect Idiom Fact: Did you know 400 years ago fleas were a sign of love, not bad habits? Some men would take fleas from their girlfriends’ hair and keep them as pets in a tiny gold box? Yuck!
"I would love to be a fly on the wall."
Have you ever wished you could secretly spy on your friends? Flies are tiny and quiet and a lot of the time you don’t even notice them on the wall. If you were “a fly on the wall”, you could watch and listen to people and they probably wouldn't even notice you there.
Insect Idiom Fact: Flies can see everything. Did you know flies have two eyes, but each eye has 3,000 to 6,000 small eyes that each see a different part of what the fly is looking at? No wonder flies get away when we try to swat them!