Pests in Folklore and Mythology: Ancient Egypt

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Different cultures mythologies are often interpreted as a reflection of their culture, which explains why many of the characters in these stories- though exaggerated and often outlandish- share at least some qualities of people and creatures that actually exist in the real world. For our purposes, we’ll be focusing on pests in Ancient Egyptian mythology--and there are plenty to choose from. After all, if mythology is ultimately a reflection of a culture, there’s naturally going to be all sorts of insects and critters that make appearances in some way, shape, or form. With that said, let’s look at some of the pests that make appearances in Ancient Egyptian mythology.

Mosquitoes 

Mosquito perched on human arm sucking blood

Funnily enough, mosquitoes were viewed in ancient Egypt much in the same way that they are today: As irritants, but not much of a huge threat. Although malaria was a frequent malady of the people of the time, it was not clear to this ancient civilization that it was actually mosquitoes who were spreading it. Although mosquitoes didn’t appear too frequently in Egyptian mythology as anything more than an irritant, interestingly they were the early victims of pest control; fresh ben oil or the uses of a net were considered efficient against mosquitoes at the time.

 

Bees

Close up picture of a bee

According to the Egyptian Academic Journal of Biological Sciences, the bee was incredibly important to ancient Egyptian culture, so much so that it became strongly associated with royal titles. The first King of Egypt was referred to as "the Beekeeper”, which was a title attributed to each pharaoh in subsequent years. The shelter in which Egyptian god Osiris was worshiped was called the house of the bee. 

Egyptian mythology contains countless references to the bee, including the belief that bees were the tears of the god RA, and is featured notably in many Egyptian temples. These temples even kept bees in order to satisfy the desire of the gods for honey. Bees are portrayed on the walls of Egyptian tombs and offerings of honey were routinely presented to the most important Egyptian deities. In short, bees were an incredibly important part of ancient Egyptian culture and mythology. 

 

Flies 

Close up of a house fly

In ancient Egypt, flies represented courage and tenacity. Carvings in the form of flies have been found and dated to approximately 3500 B.C. Within the mythology, the story went that flies could protect against misfortune and disease.

 

Beetles 

Beetle

Because of its 'miraculous' emergence from the ground, the ancient Egyptians believed that the scarab beetle came into being from a ball of dung and was associated with the creator-god Atem, who himself was associated with resurrection and new life. Because of this, the scarab became an important symbol of creation, resurrection, and everlasting life in the religious mythology of ancient Egypt. Small jars and coffins containing mummified scarabs were often placed in Egyptian tombs to ensure everlasting life in the afterlife.


Even in ancient times, pests were often on the minds of people, even though the Egyptians perception of these pests was a lot more positive than ours here in modern-day. So while a lot of these insect pests have some interesting historical background through the lens of history, truthfully these myths are probably not going to make you appreciate one of these creatures infesting your home. With our Complete Care Plan, Thomas Pest Control will cover many of your pest control needs, mythological or not. Just contact us to learn more!

 


Tags: albany pest control  |  mosquitoes  |  flies  |  bees and wasps

 
 

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