Fear of Insects: Understanding and Overcoming Entomophobia


For all those that scream, stress or feel like their heart is going to explode whenever they see any small creature with multiple legs, it is possible you have entomophobia. Entomophobia is the fear of or aversion to all types of bugs.  Most of us find this fear to be irrational. Bugs are a fraction of our size, and yet many of our physiological reactions make them appear to be a huge threat to our well-being. Why is it that so many of us are afraid of these tiny creatures?

Symptoms of Entomophobia

Phobias create an extreme amount of anxiety whenever we come in contact with whatever it is we fear. An insect phobia can create many unpleasant symptoms such as:


  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Feeling sick
  • Chest pains
  • “Jelly legs”
  • Feeling faint
  • Fuzzy vision or hearing

In most situations, one feels that they MUST escape the situation that they’re in. These symptoms range from mild to severe, but overall they can be manageable with time.

What Causes a Phobia of Insects?

Although there isn’t a specific “trigger” to cause a phobia, there are some ideas as to how they can start. Sometimes an ugly experience with a bug, such as being stung, can spark a phobia within someone. Memories of the pain or the oddity of the situation can keep the phobia alive. Parents also have a large impact on what their children fear. If a parent continually shows fear whenever they see a bug, the child will believe that the bug will harm them, causing anxiety.

Overcoming Your Fears

Because we have learned to fear insects, we have to unlearn the fear in order to overcome it.

  • First, pinpoint why you might have this fear. Are you afraid of bites or stings? Or are you afraid of the way they look and move? Write down what it is you fear about bugs, or a particular bug.
  • Educate yourself about that bug or bugs. Understanding what it is you fear will help you overcome the anxiety you feel when you see it.
  • Start by drawing a picture of a bug you’re afraid of. Physically drawing out your fear will help you overcome your reactions. Progress into looking at black and white photos of your fear, and eventually colored pictures.
  • When you’re ready, slowly start watching videos about bugs.
  • Once you feel like you’ve got your emotions in control, check out an insect exhibit at your local zoo.

Exposing yourself to bugs in short burst over time will help you overcome your fear. Don’t force it too hard upon yourself in risk of causing too much panic. Remember that overcoming your fears will not happen overnight. Building up short exposures with bugs will in due time help you manage your phobia. In the mean time, make sure that your home and phobia is free from bugs by checking out our previous post: 3 Ways to Bug-Proof Your Home. 

By, Jessica Doucette


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