During all the encounters that you’ve had with animals like houseflies, ants, cockroaches, and spiders, we’re sure you’ve wondered: Do bugs feel pain?

Here’s the quick answer: Yes, they do.

According to a scientific study, insect brains perform the same functions that the human midbrain—which supports our capacity for awareness—does.

“[W]hile insect brains and human brains could not look more different, they have structures that do the same thing, for the same reason and so support the same kind of first-person perspective. That is strong reason to think that insects and other invertebrates are conscious.”

—Study authors, cognitive scientist Andrew B. Barron and philosopher Colin Klein

So, just like all other animals, bugs suffer when they’re poisoned, squished, trapped, left to die, or killed in other ways. It doesn’t matter that they look different from us—they’re sentient beings, and they deserve to live freely.

Plus, you just might like all the fascinating things that bugs can do.

Ants use “math” to find the fastest path from one place to another. Honeybees can count and group similar objects, like dogs and human faces. Mother crickets warn their offspring—even before they hatch—about the dangers that spiders pose to them. Social spiders have all kinds of personalities: Some are shy, and others are more aggressive. Fruit flies appear to contemplate before making a decision when they’re presented with a difficult choice. Cockroaches can recognize individual members of their families and live in tight-knit communities.

These are just a few of the many reasons why bugs deserve to live without being harmed by humans. ❤

What You Can Do

Don’t mind bugs at all? That’s great! But for those who think that they’re a nuisance, there are many cruelty-free ways to get them out of your home. Live and let live, right? ☮ Here are some humane methods to use so that you can coexist peacefully:

1. Ants

If you see ants in your home, find out where they’re entering so that you can seal any openings around doors, windows, and walls. These are natural repellents that you can use at the entry spots:

  • Cinnamon sticks, coffee grinds, chili peppers, paprika, cloves, and dried peppermint leaves
  • A squirt of lemon juice
  • Cloves of garlic

2. Bees and wasps

If you see a bee or a wasp heading toward you, try to remain calm! Remember that bees are always on the lookout for food like pollen, so they may land on your skin to inspect a scent or to get some water and salt (that is, your sweat). Avoiding quick movements is the best thing to do. ?❤

If bees or wasps make their way into your home, slowly approach them and trap them using PETA’s Humane Bug Catcher. Then release them outside.

3. Cockroaches

The best way to deal with cockroaches is to make your home the sort of place that they wouldn’t like to explore. Here’s how to do that:

  • Keep your food in tightly sealed containers, and try to keep your sink and counters clean and free of leftover food.
  • Keep normally moist areas dry—cockroaches love water, even just a few drops.
  • Use natural repellents like bay leaves, garlic, catnip, and cucumbers to keep cockroaches away. Place them in high and damp areas.

4. Spiders

Never forget that spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them. The next time you see  eight-legged buddies hanging out in your room, carefully trap them in a jar that’s upside down and then release them outside, or use a bug catcher.

5. Flies

If you see houseflies or fruit flies buzzing around, you can either open a window to let them out or use a humane catcher. Then be sure to seal any open food and put away any fruit.

So the next time that you come across ants, cockroaches, spiders, houseflies, or other insects, please don’t swat them—treat them humanely instead.

Bugs and other animals are like you, only different! Learn more: