The end of days has always been a dreadful thought that has been haunting us throughout the ages. Some of us fear the final punishment, others try to be prepared for any fatal world catastrophe, and we all are on a constant alert of lethal tsunamis, world distressing earthquakes, alien invasions, severe outburst of the incurable epidemic that will wipe the humankind off the face of the earth.
The range of threatening turnouts is endless and in this troubling insecurity we all seek for a way to be prepared for the ultimate apocalypse. We rely on ancient and vague prophecies in a fruitless attempt to survive the end of the world, though that End never comes. Whether we rely on Nostradamus’ words that a “great King of Terror” will come from the sky, or we hope that the Bible’s code will give us an insight on the exact date of the doomsday, we keep our ears and eyes wide open and try to figure out when we should hide and stack up with food supplies for the months to come.
We have managed to survive much dreaded events, like the passing of the Halley's Comet in 1910 that was said to suffocate us with a deadly gas; we passed by the year 2000 all safe and sound and for better or worse our computers did not suffer much distress; even the end of the Mayan calendar which made us uneasy in 2012 didn’t seem to affect us much. We are all here to stay, awaiting for another apocalypse, hoping to survive, ready to make use of that stocked indispensable survival kit.
But what if this time we are unaware of the upcoming events, what if the end of days comes unexpectedly and we could not manage to act as planned – will we be able to survive if a world encompassing epidemic, natural disaster or worse threatens our life, or will we perish? Suppose we don’t make it, suppose Earth finally frees herself of our destructive influence, then what would it be like? Would there be living creatures left behind? Not to disappoint you, but the answer is most probably “yes” – there are some pretty resilient pests living among us that would survive almost anything, even a nuclear explosion. But let’s see how that could be so.
Let’s start with the most yielding insects: the cockroaches. Throughout the ages they have gained the authority of having the best survival skills among pests. Maybe their most distinguished accomplishment is related to the development of the atomic bombs. One of the greatest world disasters in our history follows the reckless bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The radiation and the awful destructive atomic blast annihilated every living creature in the area of the impact, leaving life-long traces on those who were affected by its side effects. You’ve got the picture, right; well now imagine that there was a small group of surviving species that remained untouched – the local cockroaches. And if those are not creatures that do not deserve to be called ultimate survivors, I do not know who does!
Their fair competitors on the surviving scale turn out to be the flour beetles which can endure some solid radiation overload. Even though they are rather small they are much feared pests that often cause great damages to the agriculture crops. Those flour beetles not only feed on our “bread” but will also definitely outlive us under some harsh environmental catastrophes.
A rather intriguing notion is offered by the latest news on the so-called “cicadas invasion” that was expected to be observed this summer. And even if those insects are not to be compared to the rigid insects from above they surely offer quite interesting traits. They are believed to have spent the past 17 years underground, waiting for this particular moment to rise above the surface and breed. The prediction foretells a total of a million and a half insects to appear in clouds, each female among them would be looking to create 600 eggs before perishing. The sole thought of having a vast colony of insects striving underground is somewhat quite disturbing. And while we are exposed to various natural disasters those little creatures enjoy the calmness and protection of the warm earth, waiting for their eventual comeback.
All in all pests or better yet insects are quite remarkable survivors. We sure have the knowledge, but is that really what matters? Being able to predict the doomsday could hardly be a worthy advantage if we are not able to outlive its impact. Well, this is exactly the aspect on which the insects outmatch us greatly. Will they survive the World’s End? Most probably yes, hopefully we will mimic their endurance and we will excel at our survival skills just as well.
David Drasnin is a freelance writer who is a true movie addict and an avid fantasy reader. Always keeping busy David is currently engaged on multiple projects including working with Oliver Exterminating.