Veganism and feminism are inseparable concepts in my life.

This blog is a theoretical interpretation of the lived experiences of a vegan feminist,
and an exploration of what it even means to be one in the first place.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What to do When you Find a Wasp or Bee in your House: Compassion, Humane Treatment, Peace, and Not Killing Insects

Why Bees and Wasps

We need to read and write about bees and wasps to create a space that legitimizes them. Like many other animals (especially insects), bees and wasps are objectified by our culture in a way that allows us to treat them with absolute disrespect.

If we care about issues of oppression or any non-human animal at all, we need to radically rethink bees and wasps because oppressions are interconnected, uphold one another, and it is our moral obligation to protect victims. I certainly don't know if this is the best way to radically rethink bees and wasps, but it is hopefully one of many attempts.

This blog post will:

  • first expose the cultural lies and what they allow us to do
  • move on to highlighting what our culture does know about bees and wasps but is not common knowledge
  • an overview of bees and honey
  • how to deal with wasp and bee nests (or should we "deal" with them at all?)
  • the moral dilemma of interacting with wasps and bees as humans while trying to not undermine their rights
  • how to help bees and wasps if you want to and they get into your home.

Cultural Stories About Bees and Wasps

Bees are objectified because of their instrumental use to humans. Like all animals (except perhaps those that are legally recognized as protected species), bees can be treated as objects. Being treated like an object means your well being can be traded off for economic profit. We can gas bees, relocate them, kill them at the end of the season, squish them by mistake, and perform scientific experiments on them.

I almost had a panic attack when I read the article "Ecologies of Empire" by Jake Kosek. The article explains that bees have been used as disposable cartridges and living experiments to check for toxic residue in the environment. Seriously, just... WHAT? There is no such thing as a "humane" relationship with bees when we have legal rights and they are afforded no such protections.

"Wild" (really free, read the article "Liberate Your Language" for more on this) bees are denigrated to the position of wasps. Wasps are demonized rather than objectified. They are culturally viewed as inherently antagonistic to humans, aggressive, and senseless. They are robotic drones that are alive enough to see as our opponents posing a legitimate challenge (which gives us a reason to incite war against them), but not alive enough to merit our consideration when we destroy their homes, poison them with chemicals, or drown them in traps. They are the dehumanized never human.

Meeting Bees and Wasps on Their Own Terms

The following information on bees and wasps has been taken from Kosek's "Ecologies of Empire", a lecture by Gail Fraser at York University, and Wikipedia.

To begin, there are 20,000 known species of bees. Considering the vastness of the bee species, it's fascinating how small and narrow the information on bees is. Most information about bees is concerned with honey bees because of their use to humans. Few other bees produce honey. To put it bluntly, we know very little about bees and we don't really care. That doesn't mean we're not getting involved. Killer bees were actually created by humans in scientific experiments. Kerr crossed the aggressive and active tendencies of African honey bees with the successful pollen collecting capabilities of European honey bees. According to Kosek we've shortened their lifestyles, selected out guard bees, made them more docile, and in some cases completely removed their natural hibernation. We're also misinformed about how bees always act. Kosek writes about hives with multiple queens and hives that do not throw their drones out in the winter. There are many exceptions to our scientific rules.

There are over 100,000 species of wasps. Most are parasitic and eat other insects. Others eat pollen and fruit. Some live in social hive settings whereas others are solitary. Some wasps are aquatic. Only female wasps have stingers. There isn't really as much information about wasps compared to bees, and I'd chalk this up to our real lack of interest in them. There is however a great deal of speculation about if wasps feel pain... which I suggest you do not look up if you want to keep your faith in humanity for much longer. At the very least wasps have a neural response to harm. They don't want to be harmed so don't do it.

Should we be Eating Honey?

Any discussion of bees without mentioning honey is purposely excluding something. If we come at this from a vegan perspective, you're not vegan if you're consuming honey. You're not even eating a vegan diet. Veganism, at the very least, includes not consuming any animal products. Bees are animals and honey is an animal product. I don't care how healthy you think it is, how nice you think bees are treated, or whatever other excuse you want to use, it's not vegan. I used to be a "vegan" that ate honey and luckily a stranger on a bus had a very long rant at me and embarrassed me so much I never considered touching it again. Thanks Ian, this section of my post is inspired by you.

If you're not vegan and are still reading this, I'll use a vegan ethic to explain why you shouldn't be eating honey anyways (and then maybe you can try moving on to eliminating other not so animal friendly products haha).

Let's dispel some honey myths. Myth number one is that keeping bees in hives is taking care of them and saving them from colony collapse disorder. Bees have been around for at least 100 million years. They don't need our help, especially if our "help" is keeping them in specialized nests that let us take their honey. If we actually wanted to "help" them, we would create safe spaces that let them do their own bee things and not take anything from them. "Helping bees" is an advertising scheme that tries to cover up the real economic agenda. They're just there to make money.

As property bees are accidentally squished, gassed, and killed at the end of the season all the time. Not true at this one nice farm you visited? They are still property. No matter how long the chains are, they are still there.

Remember how many species of bees I said there were? Bee farming only helps one of them. In fact, it even gives an unfair advantage to one species of bee. Bee farming creates human supported invasive species. Where there was once a variety of natural bee species, we have introduced competitors that we have specifically designed to beat out the competition. If anything, bee farming is awful for ecological diversity and natural systems. We are controlling and helping out one species at the expense of all others.

How to Humanely or Peacefully Deal with Bee or Wasp Nests

The first step to peacefully dealing with bee or wasp nests is to anticipate the arrival of these insects. Plug all holes outdoors. Cover them with wood or shove plastic in them. Wasps specifically will make nests under patio decks, in pots, in patio chairs, in signposts, or in holes in the caulking of your house. If you could get a dime into the hole, a wasp will want to go in and at least have a look around. Being proactive is one of the best methods of discouraging wasps.

There are also some other proactive methods that have varying levels of success. You can buy fake wasp nests at stores like Home Depot or the dollar store. I find the paper ones are most effective (but they do need to be removed or covered when it rains if they are very flimsy). Buy multiples even though it says just one is good enough. Put one fake wasp nest in every area where another one isn't in sight. They are supposed to act as deterrents because wasps are territorial, but I've had wasps build a nest in my front porch when I put one in the backyard and seem to be unsuccessful when spaced too far apart. Encourage predators that would bother wasps by putting out nuts for squirrels or bird seed for birds. The worst case scenario is you have a bunch of lovely sparrows visiting your house.

If you already have wasps or bees, don't immediately decide you must destroy the nest. Observe them. What are they doing? If they're out of the way (like in a sign post) put a sign up that says wasps here, stay away. Control where they go by planting bee friendly flowers or leaving fruit out for your wasps. You won't be bringing in more wasps, because they are territorial, but you will be directing their flying routes. Maybe you're even causing them. The old street I lived on had dozens of pear trees. Every summer all the fruit would fall to the ground and we would get hundreds of wasps for months. Pick up fruit after it falls or be proactive and pick ripe fruit. If it is not edible please compost it.

I am going to bring it up again because it is so important, observe your insect neighbors. I'm sure it's extremely worrisome and unpleasant to have them so close to you, but are they actually a danger? I've had wasps actually live in the caulking between my front door and the porch ceiling for two years because I forgot to seal up the holes. In two years no one in my family received any wasp stings and we had three wasps come into the house accidentally. If any get inside turn off the lights, shine a flashlight on the wall, and catch your wasp that should be attracted to the light (I learned this trick when one refused to leave the lamp unless it was turned off). Our wasps had a very sophisticated system. They used one hole as an exit and one as an entrance. Neither hole went in the direction of my front door and even though they were 2 feet away from the door itself, they never tried to get in. In fact they were a joy to watch because every once in a while one would use the wrong hole and cause a wasp traffic jam.

Want to hear the best news about wasp nests? They don't come back. The colony will die out by next year and since the queen will only live long enough to lay eggs, you can seal up that area and even if you don't you won't get any of your same wasps back. The same goes for bees. I only got wasps in the same area twice (but not the same hole, it was three feet away) and that was because it was a great spot.

The Moral Dilemma of Insects in Your House

If you find a bee or wasp in your house move it outside. You can catch the insect with a net or if you're very brave a cup. If you don't have a net you can use a large tupperwear container. Wasps specifically are attracted to light and you can turn off the lights and use a flashlight to get them on the wall so they can be caught easily and safely.

What do you do if you can't move your bee or wasp outside because they'll die? Many insects come into your house in Fall or Winter to avoid the cold. Putting them outside means they will freeze to death. Here is the moral dilemma. If you keep your wasp or bee safe inside until Spring, they won't make it. You've likely found a drone that will have a naturally short lifespan. I have no idea what queens look like so I have no way to tell you if you have a queen, but if you do have one they will live until Spring. Even if the insect could live until Spring, you have a social insect without a hive. They may be adopted into another hive, but this is very very unlikely as far as I know. So, is it kinder to perform prolonged euthanasia by leaving the insect outside (similar to pulling the plug and waiting for the patient to die), to kill them quickly, or to keep them inside? I really can't tell you.

This is a debate you have to have with yourself and there is no "right" answer. Some would argue that you should follow the natural system and leave the insect outside... but you wouldn't do this if you had found a chipmunk or a cat. You would call the local humane society or wild life services. You might say a wasp or bee should die if they can't have the social society they evolved with, but we don't euthanize dogs and cats just because they won't be adopted (and many of us are outraged when kill shelters do just this because of over population). Leaving your wasp warm and alive means more suffering, but don't kid yourself into thinking leaving them outside will let them fall asleep peacefully. Freezing to death is not peaceful. It is painful. Make any decision you want, but make sure you are doing it because you believe in this decision and not just because "it's a wasp" or "it's a bee" and thus deserves less moral consideration than any other animal.

How to Take Care of Bees and Wasps if you Decide to

If you do decide to keep a wasp or bee in your house (because they cannot go outside! If they can go outside and they won't freeze to death, as in it's well above freezing, go put them outside immediately! Keeping a social animal in your home is horribly cruel and unnecessary) hopefully my experience can shed a little light on your situation.

I found a wasp or bee stuck behind my curtains in my den a few weeks ago. It was the night of the first snowfall. After much research online I still have no idea if this was a wasp or bee and it doesn't really matter (I'll explain why later). I will refer to my insect friend as a wee.

The wee could not even stand up. I put the wee in a tupperware container and every thirty seconds would have to prod the wee with a piece of paper to help them stand up again because the wee had fallen onto their back and was buzzing loudly. After about five minutes I only needed to upright the wee every minute. Then, about ten minutes after I was positive my wee would not live the night, the wee decided to fly around the room and land in my bonsai.

I put my wee in a glass vase (with a sieve over the top) and later moved my wee to an aquarium. My wee lived for five days before eventually dying. My wee was going to the bathroom and I believe my wee was eating. I still don't know if it was morally right to keep my wee or not, but here are some tips if you happen to be trying to help out a wee:

  • Don't name your wee. They will die. You can if you want to, but be prepared that they will die. You are only helping them live a little longer.
  • Put plants in with your wee. Mine liked hanging out on my bonsai. They also enjoy old branches to sit on.
  • Keep a damp paper towel at all times at the bottom of the cage. If you have any significant water, your wee may fall over, get wet, and be unable to get back up or out and will drown. It is very very easy for this to happen.
  • Put a teaspoon of agave in the cage or add sugar to the water (if you don't know what agave is, google it, buy it, and use it instead of honey in everything from now on. Maple syrup would probably work too). This works for bees and wasps, which is why it is unnecessary to identify the species. If you think you have a wasp, put in some fruit, but change it regularly because it will start to smell fast.
  • Make sure your cage is big enough for your wee to fly around in comfortably. Have lots of open space to stick your hand in and get it out quickly. Also, most importantly, make sure there are air holes that let air in but don't let the wee out!
  • Learn the rhythms of your wee friend. When mine was angry they would buzz around for a while and make a ruckus. I also knew when they were not going to fly around and I could open the whole cage, move things around, and have them completely ignore me. I had my wee for five days and even though I moved things around in the cage with my bare hands regularly, I was never at risk of being bitten or stung.

Further Reading on my Vegan Feminist Position on Insects

If you want information about gardening peacefully, check out this post I wrote here.

If you want information about dealing with aphids and other insects peacefully, check out this post I wrote here.

If you are having problems with ants and would like to get rid of them without killing them, check out this post I wrote on my old blog here.

If you are having problems with ladybugs in your house, check out this post I wrote here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is a Rape Rack?: Why Feminism Applies to Cows

What a Rape Rack is

Rape rack is the industry term, or nickname for, the device used to artificially inseminate female cows so that they become pregnant and can eventually produce milk for human consumption. Rape racks are also used on other animals such as monkeys to breed them for scientific experiments.

Why do I have to use the term rape rack? It describes reality.

Rape rack is a term that makes no apologies. Rape rack is graphic, horrifying, and violent. Rape rack calls to mind the life mutilating experience of being raped. All of these definitions are true and I will always use the word rape rack because I want to imply these meanings and others of similar gut wrenching quality.

As Carol J. Adams' wrote in The Sexual Politics of Meat, we must not use words that mask the reality of how non-human animals are treated. We must liberate our language. Saying a cow is artificially inseminated provides no anecdote or explanation of exactly what happened; artificial insemination could be anything from a little needle to a human hand inserted into the vagina. A rape rack implies that an object was used, the device was violently inserted into the vagina, and that the animal was violated.

This is not co-opting a term that only applies to humans. Rape happened. This makes us uncomfortable. It makes people squirm in their seats or call you a hysteric. It should make us squirm; it's absolutely disgusting that anyone would impregnate any animal against their will and the rape rack specifically violates right of personhood and autonomy. That is rape.

How Milk is Produced

I want to pause for a moment and return to my original definition of rape rack as "the device used to artificially inseminate female cows so that they become pregnant and can eventually produce milk for human consumption". I worded that very carefully because I want to stress how milk is produced, which surprisingly few people know. My parents, over 50 years old each, had no clue. I didn't know about it until after I went vegan. This is the birds and the bees and people flat out just don't know. It's nothing to be ashamed of; we are not taught about how milk is made on purpose because it's basically awful and I'd like to now give the space to have that discussion.

Humans are the only mammals (and thus animals) that can produce milk for their whole lives after only being pregnant once. If you keep taking the milk, humans will keep making it. I'm sure there are exceptions and maybe this isn't as natural as I'm led to believe, but it does explain our basic ignorance of how other animals work because the rest of them don't work like this. Non-human animals only produce enough milk for the baby or babies they just had. Female cows produce milk for one year after being impregnated.

Want cow milk? This is how you do it:
Step 1) Impregnate female cow with rape rack, human hand, or male cow (in descending order of likeliness, as I understand it).
Step 2) Female cow gives birth and you take the baby cow away in 24 hours to 7 days. Some farms wait longer, but who gives a damn? You are taking the baby away. That's not humane or acceptable. If the baby is male he will usually become a veal cow (yes even love to convince you they are awesome, organic, and humane farms do this, I've asked them when I still thought you could use animals nicely) and be shipped to another farm. Girl babies became dairy cows like mom.
Step 3) Milk cow for 1 year.
Step 4) Return to step 1 and repeat because she has now stopped producing milk. Repeat again and again until female cow stops producing optimum milk, usually at 3-4 years old. Then kill her. Put her in a hamburger, as if the rest wasn't insult to injury already.

Tadah you have milk! And the reason why vegetarianism doesn't help cows. And a really messed up situation that makes me want to scream every time someone brings a milk carton into lecture.

Why Cows and This Whole Thing Matters to Feminism

The simplest reason why this matters is because you can take almost any feminist theory and apply it to cows and you can convince yourself why drinking milk is really oppressive. Let's practice with rape myths! I'll throw a few out for you. If you aren't familiar with rape myths they are basically myths a society uses to not take rape seriously and blame the victim. They also blame the victim when it comes to cows. Here they are, and trigger warning because these are unpleasant.

Rape Myths for Humans and Non-Humans:
- They like it (aren't there pictures of happy cows everywhere?).
- They are naturally like this.
- They don't deserve any better.
- They are just animals.
- They asked for it.
- They should have protected themselves better.
- It's not really that bad.
- They're lying, it never happened (which you might be saying about me right now).

Another way to look at it is just because we are oppressed, does not mean we have no power. We oppress others and we have the power to stop. Many feminists don't care about going vegan because there are more important issues to worry about. No, this is all part of the same issue. Violence is violence. I am against using and abusing humans and non-humans. They are not so very different, just extend your circle of care. If you don't, you end up sounding as ridiculous as a feminist professor of mine who told me she's not vegan because her brother is a butcher. So if your brother was a rapist, would you not be feminist either?

The line between humans and non-humans is arbitrary. They feel pain and they suffer just as we do. Want to get postmodern? Challenge the category of the human just like feminists challenged sex and gender. This is all constructed to keep some group in power and it's disturbing to realize we have the power in this case and we are the ones with privilege.

Openly saying rape rack when I talk about cows is one of the most vegan feminist acts I can participate in; I look across an arbitrary boundary and I refuse the suffering of my sisters. Even if they are not your sisters, know that they were violated. Refuse to let anyone think anything less.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Applying Feminism to Veganism: Why Should Feminists be Vegan?

Putting it very simply, a feminist should be vegan to avoid being speciesist (and a hypocrite). That's the extremely simple, too long didn't read, version of this post. Before I directly apply feminism to veganism, there are a few concepts I'll briefly touch on that will hopefully explain why it is even relevant to consider applying feminism to non-humans.


Speciesism is very similar to sexism, racism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, and all of the other nasty -isms rampant in society today. The only difference (between speciesism and all of the other -isms, as well as between all of the other -isms themselves) is who happens to be the favoured subject and who happens to be the discriminated against other. None of these discriminations are acceptable. They are all based on arbitrary characteristics that are highlighted and used as excuses to give one type of person less consideration.

To better illustrate speciesism I will provide you with a short summary of speciesism from a website about Dr. Richard Ryder, the professor who coined the word. This is from the website

"Speciesism is a term coined by Richard Ryder in 1970. The word refers to the widely held belief that the human species is inherently superior to other species and so has rights or privileges that are denied to other sentient animals. ‘Speciesism’ can also be used to describe the oppressive behaviour, cruelty, prejudice and discrimination that are associated with such a belief. In a more restricted sense, speciesism can refer to such beliefs and behaviours if they are based upon the species-difference alone, as if such a difference is, in itself, a justification."

"Ryder used the term as a deliberate ‘wake-up call’ to challenge the morality of current practices where nonhuman animals are being exploited in research, in farming, domestically and in the wild, and he consciously drew the parallel with the terms racism and sexism. Ryder pointed out that all such prejudices are based upon physical differences that are morally irrelevant. He suggested that the moral implication of Darwinism is that all sentient animals, including humans, should have a similar moral status."

I must also point out that when referencing speciesism, I am suggesting that non-human animals require equity rather than equality. We are not asking, as typical anti-animal rights jokes suggest, that dogs and cats be given the right to vote. We are asking that they be treated with similar, but different, consideration. That means that they would have some of our rights, and if necessary, might even have rights that we don't (because they don't apply to humans). The animal rights movement is specifically asking all animals be given the right to not be considered property. Humans are the only species that currently has this legal right.

The basis of all animal rights arguments usually implies that non-human animals should be considered people. As speciesism suggests, the characteristics that make non-human animals not people are arbitrary. I emphasize the world people because it will be very important when we directly apply feminism to non-humans. Everything that is happening, is happening to a living, breathing, sentient, person that is stuck in that body, often with no ability to understand what is going on.

Applying feminism to non-human animals

Since non-human animals are (or should be considered to be) people, we can apply many feminist quotes to them and read them as if the subject is a nongendered, male, or female, cow, cat, pig, chicken, or any sort of animal, rather than just a human woman.

Here is one example. It is probably not the best example, but it came up in the book I'm reading this week and it's really that simple. You can do this with nearly all feminist texts. This except is from The Newly Born Woman on page 70. Read it as if the subjects Cixous is talking about are non-human animals eaten and used by humans.

“So I am three or four years old and the first thing I see in the street is that the world is divided in half, organized hierarchically, and that it maintains this distribution through violence. I see that there are those who beg, who die of hunger, misery, and despair, and that there are offenders who die of wealth and pride, who stuff themselves, who crush and humiliate. Who kill. And who walk around in a stolen country as if they had had the eyes of their souls put out. Without seeing that the others are alive.”

The violence inflicted on Algerians by the French, that she is referring to in this passage, is historically, symbolically, and physically very similar to the violence that humans inflict on non-human animals. It is not, obviously, the exact same thing. The motives are different. The results were different. The major difference, however, is none of those things that cause us to typically object to linking non-human to human suffering. The major difference is that, in the case of non-human animals, we are all culpable. We are the oppressors, the violators, the guilty. We have done and do this on a daily basis, and I find myself asking... how can any feminist accept this?

All feminists can unite under the idea that there is some form of oppression that we need to get rid of. Many of us have been, and still are, oppressed for being born who we are and for choosing who we want to be. Because of this we often reject the our own ability to be oppressors, but if anything our victimization should lead us to understand how it feels to be oppressed. We should know better. We should know how much it hurts and reject our place in it. We know that (human) privilege comes at a cost and that others are paying for it. We devalue those others for the sole purpose of allowing ourselves to pretend we still have morals when we use them, because if we did not devalue them, if we saw cows as people, we could never do this to them.

Finally, feminists have heard nearly all of the excuses used to justify non-human animal oppression used before to justify other kinds of oppression.

  • They aren't intelligent (ableists and sexists)
  • We need them for our society to function (racists)
  • They're only good for what we use them for (racists)
  • This is natural (sexists and heterosexists)
  • They should defend themselves (ageists and ableists)
  • They don't have interests or reason (ableists and sexists)
  • We need to protect them and to do that we have to own them (racists)

We didn't tolerate it then; we shouldn't now. In the inspirational words of Gary Francione:

"If you are not vegan, please go vegan. It is easy and better for your health and for the environment and, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Why do we still need feminism?

We're in a strange place; you can turn on the television and watch a woman saying we don't need feminism and because of it men are suffering, or somehow on the exact same planet you can go to a university and take a PhD in Women's Studies and devote 10 years of your life to feminism.

So which is it; is feminism dead or alive, and who is it for?


Simone de Beauvoir answered these questions 63 years ago in her book The Second Sex. Beauvoir wrote that feminism is necessary for men and women; everyone is oppressed by our current system, just in very different ways.

To be clear, not all feminism can be boiled down to Beauvoir. She is but one of many influential feminists and I'm using her to make my point. Someone else could use Foucalt, Butler, Irigaray, Harraway, and so forth and make the case for feminism in a very different way.

Beauvoir believed that people of the female sex are made into "women" and that this is to our detriment. She explained that young girls are forced to wear dresses they can't move in, not allowed to climb trees, forbidden to fight and learn to defend themselves like their male peers do, encouraged to play with dolls, told that they should be married and be a mother, and taught to cook and clean. The upbringing of a girl makes her into a defenceless home keeper, or even worse a working mom who does the 9-5 job then comes home to cook and clean. This is further emphasized in her adult life when she is encouraged to become a mother and wear clothes that keep her defenceless (try running as successfully in a ball gown and heels as a man in his suit!). Beauvoir argues that boys are raised to be humans that work towards their goals whereas girls are raised to be parasites. We can see this clearly in her quote on page 749:

“Women are “clinging,” they are a dead weight, and they suffer for it; the point is that their situation is like that of a parasite sucking the living strength of another organism. Let them be provided with the living strength of their own, let them have the means to attack the world and wrest from it their own subsistence, and their dependence will be abolished – that of man also. There is no doubt that both men and women will profit greatly from the new situation.”

Ultimately, Beauvoir argues, there is nothing wrong with "women" naturally but the problem lies in how we are raised by our society to be women. If we raise girls to be human beings that can defend themselves and have actual choices then women will be able to be independent and men will be free of the parasite we've been trained to be.

So, according to Beauvoir, all we need to do is raise girls differently and give them choices. This is where it gets tricky. Antifeminists believe women have enough or too many choices. Feminists believe that although women have come a long way, we really don't have many choices. What seems to be choice is, if you look closer, not a choice at all.


“The girl's choice is usually quite limited; and it could not be really free unless she felt free also not to marry.” Simone de Beauvoir "The Second Sex", p 433
Beauvoir and I would similarly argue that the choice women are said to have is an illusion. In many areas of their life, women are not able to say no. Thus, they are not free and have no choice. While they could physically say no, saying no comes with consequences that can range from stigma to physical assault. When there is any negative consequence that comes from saying no, saying no is not a free choice. I will illustrate this with several examples and personal experiences.

Having Children: Since women can have children, it is often assumed that it is their biological destiny to procreate. Even with obvious problems of overpopulation, women are still expected to become pregnant and have their own children. This is so pervasive that women who don't want children are seen as abnormal. I have known since grade 5 that I would never have human children. I have received a range of responses including: "You'll change your mind.", "You'll regret it if you don't.", "Don't you want to be a grandparent?", "What if your husband wants them?", and "Who will take care of you when you get old?". All of these responses assume that the person talking to me knows more about my body than I do, which is funny, as I've had it for 21 years thank you very much. It also assigns a stigma that would not exist if I had children at the appropriate age with the appropriate person. There is no choice, only societal hell to pay if I want to fight to keep my body child free.

Getting Married: In high school I decided that I'd never meet the right guy and never get married. Even though I have, we're still not getting married because I disagree with the institution of marriage. This results in the stigmatized questions of: "Don't you want to buy a wedding dress?", "But he'll always be your boyfriend.", "Don't you want a big wedding?", "What about a wedding ring?", and "You'll regret it." Once again, this is not a choice. There are clearly values assigned to one side over the other. If it were a choice, no one would have any say or comment on what I did with my future.

Having Sex: There is a remarkably appropriate amount of sex to have, which I think is ridiculous. If someone thinks you have too little, you get responses like I do such as "Your boyfriend will leave you" and "I feel sorry for your boyfriend" (both of these came from people very very close to me). If you have too much, you're a slut. The reason this occurs is because women are expected to have a certain amount of sex. Too little and we're not fulfilling our "biological role" as women. Too much and we're spoiled goods, which is ridiculous considering women are not property! The idea of the slut is a herald back to a time when women were property and men didn't want to share. We're no longer property under the law, but we still are when it comes to sex. When we can specify any amount of partners we want without any shame, then it will be a choice we make as free individuals.

Shaving: Like your grass lawn, women are expected to be shaved. There are a lot of good reasons not to shave. Some of them include: not looking like a prepubescent girl and because it grows back so it's a waste of your very important time (read a book instead!). I shave every once in a while because of the awful stigma that comes from not shaving. Clementine Cannibal, an amazing person I was lucky enough to have a class with, tells a story on her blog about being beaten up at a show because she didn't shave her armpits. We have no choice in this matter, it's shave or get ready to defend yourself. That is not the choice of a free individual.

Wearing a bra: Women have breasts and are thus expected to wear bras, even if they are uncomfortable for some of us. The amount of stares or indecent comments a women can get simply because she is not wearing a bra is surprising. I remember a friend once called my professor a "hippie" and was disgusted that she wasn't wearing a bra. This brilliant woman with her PhD in a field I could never even get through because it would take so much math had suddenly become nothing more important than a woman without a bra. Every accomplishment in her life was reduced to nothing because she failed to put on a bra that day. It is not a choice.

There are countless examples of women not having a choice when society claims that we do. The "choice" we have is really only one option that society values and we must face the wrath of society if we do not pick it. Women should be free to look however we want, sleep with whoever we want, and do whatever we want, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else in the process. Until we can, we still need feminism. Men need it too. We know they are not free either.


We still need feminism because both men and women are not free. You cannot save half of society and expect everything to turn out fine. Feminism is a means to liberate us all. There is dissension in feminism about how exactly we should go about gaining our freedom, which results in many different types of feminism, but I am pretty confident in saying that a feminist ethic of some kind is absolutely essential. We need it if we want to get out of this mess.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How to Get Rid of Aphids and Other Garden Bugs Without Killing Them


Gardening is plagued by a speciesist fallacy that I would summarize as a "Don't like it? Kill it" approach. This approach encourages a lack of empathy, values aesthetics over suffering and death, and ultimately contradicts why many of us garden to begin with. We garden because we actually like nature and how we treat it should reflect that. This blog post is intended to speak out against the typical gardening approach that values human pleasure over all else. If you found it, likely because you don't want to kill aphids or other bugs to remove them, hopefully you agree.

One of the first steps to wanting to remove aphids and other insects peacefully is turning them from objects into subjects. We should view them as if they were another person. At the very least, we should consider them to be similar to a cat or dog in what moral obligations we have towards them. This is a huge step up from seeing them as a pest or as no more worthy of our consideration than dirt. One way we can do that is by trying to understand aphids on their own terms.


Aphids are fascinating animals. I will admit that their number of legs creeps me out a little, but theoretically they are just beautiful. There are roughly 4 400 species of aphids; only about 250 of these are considered "pests" by humans. They come in many colours and can be green, black, pink, or brown.

Some aphids are even "farmed" by ants where the ants will protect them from predators, bring their eggs into the nest over the winter, and stroke them for honeydew. The relationship seems alright, but just like us humans, the ants often take advantage of the aphids. If the aphid herds get too big the ants start to eat them. Finally, aphids can reproduce sexually and asexually.

In the Winter female aphids change from sexual to asexual reproduction and they make female aphid offspring by themselves. Hypothetically, female aphids could continue to carry on the species without males!


The best way to make sure that you don't have to struggle with aphids or other insects is to plan ahead. You can always buy a plant for aphids to encourage them to eat that one instead of eating your precious lettuce. Aphids are attracted to the colour yellow so you could plant or buy potted yellow plants. Sunflowers are a great option if you have the room because they will also provide a food source for birds and squirrels that might be otherwise tempted to eat your other plants as well!

If you are growing plants indoors, start them from seed when possible. If you buy potted plants, keep them in a room without other plants for at least a month. They may have insects or insect eggs on them and it's best to isolate any insects so that they don't spread to all of your other plants. Only buy new potted plants when it is warm outside, in case you do happen to get insects.

If you are growing your plants outdoors, go for plant variety. If you do happen to get aphids, you'll find that they are only interested in some of your plants. If I had only grown lettuce this year, I would have been much more upset when I found some green aphids living on my lettuce plants. It wasn't that big a deal though because I was also growing basil, eggplant, parsley, chives, mint, strawberries and rhubarb that the aphids hadn't touched.

If your garden is outdoors, encourage nature to take care of the aphids on their own. Insects are only a problem when they have an unlimited food source and no predators. If you let nature do its own thing, predators will quickly notice that you have lots of aphids and take care of that for you. You can attract predators by buying plants that ladybugs are attracted to or by making a hidey hole for a frog. If you don't want to add additional plants or build specific habitats, one simple method is to just stop cutting your grass. As soon as I did this my backyard became a home to snakes, burrowing spiders, frogs, praying mantises, and a walking stick.


Most gardening websites encourage getting rid of aphids or other insects with alcohol or soapy water. This is extremely cruel and unnecessary. The aphids won't kill you or even your plants, but you will kill them by doing this. It's an overreaction.

If you have aphids inside your house, move any plants with aphids into a room by themselves. Whether the plants are outdoors or indoors, the first step should be to physically remove the aphids. Snip off any leaves that they are sitting on. If you caught it early enough, you'll lose less than 1/4 of the plant this way. You must take the whole leaf because you may not be able to see eggs that were laid. Put these leaves outside. If you haven't been cutting your grass, you'll have plenty of new food options for your aphids to choose from. You may have to do this for several days in a row, but in a week your plants should be aphid free. I have tried this method myself with no problems.

If you don't have yellow flowers, go buy some. Scroll back up and read plan ahead if you don't know why. You can use the yellow flowers as a transport system to attract aphids, then remove them outside.

Just wait. I had little aphids all over my lettuce and didn't know how to get them out because they were all stuck in between the curled leaves. After the next rainfall, they just vanished.

If, for some reason, you cannot get rid of your aphids, take a deep breath and slow down. Aphids are definitely frustrating, but we all know that it's not acceptable to kill something because it's in your way or frustrating. Sometimes you may lose a plant or two. Life goes on. It won't for them if you decide to take it personally and kill them.


If you want more information about gardening peacefully, check out this post I wrote here.

If you are having problems with ants and would like to get rid of them without killing them, check out this post I wrote on my old blog here.

If you are having problems with ladybugs in your house, check out this post I wrote here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Vegan Meal Plan: Breakfast

Vegan meal plans are a great resource for new vegans (or people like me who want to try new food ideas). I'm making this post as a way to use my experience to show my support to other people that are similarly concerned with what they are eating.

My meal plans will use ingredients you should already have in your cupboards, limit the recipes to taking 15 minutes or less to prepare, and make them simple enough that anyone can prepare them!

Here are 7 breakfast ideas that will allow you to prepare a new one every day of the week. :) In the future I expect to make vegan meal plans for lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert, so keep checking back!

1) Monday:

Bagel or toast with peanut butter or jam, a glass of orange juice, and a banana.
Most bread products are vegan, but double check for bizarre ingredients like amylase or L-cysteine and avoid them. Jam is usually vegan, but watch out for gelatin and select jams that have pectin instead. You can use margarine as a topping instead, but you have to be very careful to make sure it's a vegan brand (no D3, whey, or milk solids).

2) Tuesday:

Oatmeal, fresh berries, and a glass of orange juice.
Instant oatmeal or cooked oatmeal are both easy to make. You can eat raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries on the side or put them in your oatmeal.

3) Wednesday:

Cereal with soy or almond milk and an apple.
Most cereal is vegan but double check that it doesn't contain milk or honey in it.

4) Thursday:

Pancake or waffles with fresh berries, maple syrup, and orange juice.
This is a very easy pancake recipe I found in a "Compassion Over Killing" I picked up at a Vegetarian Fair a few years ago. I use it in my waffle maker to make waffles. You can put the berries on the side or right into the mix.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups soy milk, almond milk, or water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation: 1. Mix together the dry ingredients, then stir in the wet ingredients. If the batter is too thick add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until reaching desired consistency.
2. Pour into a pan or nonstick surface and cook like a regular pancake!

5) Friday:

Smoothie made of soy or almond milk, flax, and fresh fruit.
I usually fill a blender up half way with almond or soy milk and put in cut up fruit. You can use frozen fruit or fresh berries, bananas, and mangoes for example. I grind (or you can buy already ground) and put in 3 tablespoons of flax seed (lots of omega and fiber!) and a tablespoon of molasses (masked by the other flavors but packed with iron and calcium!).

6) Saturday:

Fruit Salad.
Mix berries, apples, melon, pineapple and other fruit in a big bowl. You can season it with maple syrup, agave, or brown sugar. You can also add mint leaves to give it a kick.

7) Sunday:

French Toast with orange juice.
Vegan french toast is surprisingly easy to make. It doesn't taste exactly the same, but close enough I think. I have used the recipe here and been really happy with it. That one uses bananas as an egg substitute. Here is another one that uses tofu instead and looks like it should work just as well.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gardening as Feminist and Vegan Activism

Gardening, for me, is a creative form of feminist and vegan activism. I'm not currently a dedicated vegan abolitionist, but I am strongly influenced by Gary Francione's ideas about activism as finding non-violent and creative ways to educate people. It's because of his ideas that I get excited every time I think about a creative and peaceful way to do activism. I don't think activism needs to follow a formula; I see it as an attempt that we go into with the best of intentions and are willing and ready to change or abandon if it accidentally becomes oppressive or hateful. Whatever activism looks like is unique to the activist, so I invite you to try gardening as a form of activism if it makes sense to you.

Gardening is a form of peaceful resistance that simultaneously makes us as gardeners more self reliant and allows us to financially support certain industries less. While many of us will never be fully self reliant when it comes to food, we can still make steps in the right direction and take control where we can.

Gardening is a form of feminist and vegan activism because it rejects the oppression both of these groups oppose. Both feminist and vegans oppose humans being taken advantage of. Commercial grocery stores sell plant produce that is either grown in "developing countries" by the local population or in "developed countries" by migrant workers. These workers are rarely paid appropriate wages, can experience physical and verbal abuse on the job, and are forced to keep these jobs and put up with the poor conditions to support their families. Even buying locally is not the solution; in Ontario, where I live, we have a large migrant worker population. Furthermore, nonhuman animals are killed regularly by pesticides and farm equipment. At their best, monocrops displace large native populations of animals. Gardening gives the activist complete control over the conditions that their produce is grown in and they know exactly who is affected and how.

Luckily for us, anyone can garden! Sprouts, most herbs (like basil, thyme, rosemary, mint etc.), wheat grass, and dandelions (for their leaves) can all be grown indoors year round. Tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, strawberries, zucchini, and rhubarb are just a few examples of plants that can grow in pots on your balcony or porch from Spring to early Fall. If you have the space for an in ground garden you can get creative and buy fruit trees (small ones go for $50-100) or grow plants like corn, raspberries, and pumpkins. Your local library or the internet can always provide more specific information about the amount of sun, soil quality, and pot size certain plants will need.

Be wary of information you find when it comes to "pests", most current information in gardening is influenced by an anthropocentric and speciesist train of thought that is ready and willing to trade animal death for the "perfect" looking garden. This is unnatural (as gardens are never perfectly kept and they're just fighting off the inevitable), cruel, and unnecessary. As activists we should be concerned with impacting other sentient creatures as little as possible. Our gardens should be designed to prevent encroaching "pests". Indoor gardens can be started from seed and any insects can be moved outside. If it's too cold out, buy your insect friends a plant (preferably with yellow flowers, aphids are attracted to those) that is just for them, and move them when it gets warmer. Outdoor gardens should avoid monocrops. If you plant 3 meters squared of tomatoes, then yes, you will get insects that eat tomatoes. Mix up your plants and add plants that deter insects (like citronella) or plants that attract predators (like sunflowers). There are usually natural and friendly remedies to get rid of all "pests", but they vary animal to animal and should be looked up individually and with patience. It might take getting to the 10th page of google before you find help that isn't cruel. For larger "pests" use netting, buy a small greenhouse with a see through plastic cover, or go to your local humane society and ask for cat feces (when I used to volunteer at one a fellow came in asking for this, saying it deterred raccoons).

Finally, the soil you buy matters. Read the ingredients in any soil you buy to avoid financially supporting products that kill or use nonhuman animals. It's really just as simple as buying a different bag. Avoid anything that contains blood meal, bone meal, manure, and compost (just to be safe). If you need a perk me up, go for natural fertilizers like used coffee grinds (Starbucks and Whole Foods gives bags of these away for free if you ask for them). If you happen to live near an animal sanctuary, offer a donation in exchange for their manure.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bisexual and Lesbian Budgies

I've recently become interested in queer animals, specifically after reading that Canadian Geese in monogamous pairs were assumed to be heterosexual when many were in fact lesbians. This occurred because researchers assumed the two geese were male and female, instead of actually checking. I've started to pay a lot of attention to Mallard Ducks, whose sex is easy to tell unlike Geese, but completely forgot about the queer animals in my own home, until they started "making out" loudly to remind me. Before I begin explaining why they're queer and why this matters, I hope to bring a vegan ethic into my description of the birds I live with and introduce them as subjects of lives instead of subjects (really objects) of observation and scrutiny.

I currently live with three parakeets, or budgies as they are more commonly referred to. To preface my conversation, I will admit that they are all pets of some sort. As much as I might want them to be free agents, I have complete control over their lives. I could kill them, sell them, or breed them. I try to find ways around this problematic relationship, but to pretend it's gone would be silly of me. I am the owner, they the pets. Still, I do my best to disrupt this relationship. My budgies all live in a cage that is always open. They have free access to a room, toys, and food at all times. I often put on music for them, which they enjoy. One of them is adopted, and the other two come from before I was vegan and not critical enough to realize that selling any animal as property is wrong. I am very careful with their diet; I buy a two seed mix (as more complex mixes have D3), give them a lava rock (rather than mineral which contains bone), and give them lots of fresh veggies to supplement those nutrients. That might seem like a lot of useless information to preface queer animals, but how I interact with these animals is very important. I believe they are as sentient as I am, so treating them well is important.

To introduce my bisexual and lesbian budgies, I feel it's best to tell a story about their lives. Most of the story is about one of my budgie's many partners. Snowy was the second budgie I'd ever owned and I felt sad that she didn't like humans much, so I bought Isis to hopefully bond with her. Unfortunately, you can't tell what sex budgies are when they're young (or at least the people at a pet store can't) so female Snowy was put in a cage with, what turned out to be, female Isis. Snowy picked on Isis a little, but they generally ignored each other. In budgies, it's recommended that a pair be male and female to avoid fighting. Snowy eventually died and since Isis had always lived with other budgies, I felt bad for her. As a bit of an aside, I've always felt most drawn to Isis because she is so awkward. She is an eight year old albino budgie who has never been able to fly.

I got Skylar (who luckily turned out to be male) to live with Isis. Isis and Skylar constantly preened each other and clicked their beaks together as if making out, so I considered them to be a couple. As far as I know, they never had sex, which is interesting because that became a pattern with Isis. Skylar died of intense seizures so I got two new budgies to live with Isis.

Jack luckily turned out to be male and Colonel Mustard turned out to be female. At the beginning Jack and Isis would make out and preen each other, just as Isis had done before with Skylar. Isis still never had sex. Colonel Mustard and Jack hung out outside the cage together for most of the day like friends (and never preening one another) and then Jack would come inside to preen Isis (since she refuses to leave the cage) occasionally.

I was later given Junebug, a female budgie, so that she wouldn't go to a humane society. I raised Junebug on her own for a little, but when she heard the other budgies in another room, I introduced her to them. Over time Jack began to groom Junebug and ignore Isis. I caught Jack and Junebug trying (and thankfully failing) to have sex a few times. I then noticed that Isis and Colonel Mustard began to preen one another. Eventually Jack died and Isis and Colonel Mustard have remained a couple. They preen each other and make out just like Isis used to with Jack and Skylar. I think the absence of sex with Colonel Mustard isn't important because Isis never had sex with any of her male partners.

So after all of this it appears that I have a potentially heterosexual female budgie (Junebug), a bisexual or pansexual budgie (Isis), and a potentially lesbian budgie (Colonel Mustard). I feel privileged to have been able to watch Isis' relationships flourish, and I wonder if the Canadian Geese have just as many interesting partners. These anecdotal observations, to me, signify the importance of taking animals and their lives seriously. Just like humans have a variety of sexualities, non-humans seem to as well. Perhaps their relationships are more liberated and honest than ours because they are not burdened by heteronormativity. Maybe we could even learn from them.

The idea of queer non-human animals excites me, because we don't really know exactly how queer or not queer our pets are. Domestic pets are not free to pursue relationships. We neuter or spay them, we force them to interact with humans, or we breed them selectively. My birds are more liberated because they don't have human contact, but I still decide which birds they can have contact with. Would Colonel Mustard choose all female partners if given the option, or would she go back and forth like Isis seems to? There is no ethical way to answer that question though, as their sexualities are their own. The last animal sexuality study I read about was horrific (think human encouraged rape) and any intervention on our part (even if well meaning) is immoral. I am happy just to observe them and make notes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Talking like/to/as a feminist

Feminism is my television commercials – but my friends don't watch the same channels I do.

Television commercials are a passive form of education. You sit in front of a screen (partly enamored and numbed into submission by the actual presence of a screen) and absorb. You are brought there under the guise that you will be entertaining yourself by watching a television show, and yet inherent to your enjoyment comes the advertisement. Twenty seven percent of your time watching the television will be spent watching someone try and sell you something. The commercials are repetitive to the point that you often find yourself in a daze, staring blindly, waiting for them to end. It must not be mistaken though – you are being acculturated to a way of life and a value system. It may be your own, but it is never of your own design. We do not watch television commercials with a barrier up. To do so would be to outwardly criticize every single one, but that is a tiring act. It becomes a headache to sit and watch things you loathe and hate. So to sit and not comment, is to absorb whatever it is that is on the television screen. You may not buy many (or even any) of the products, but that's not always what's being sold.

So what then is my form of television commercials if I don't own cable or watch tv? As a university student, I would argue that we read course readings in much the same way that we watch television commercials. There is some resistance, some comments, but if you are in a program you love – you largely absorb. I cannot tell you how many times I've argued with someone, only to realize every point I am using came from something I read four months ago. I suppose it is preferable to absorb academic literature rather than television commercials – but is there a downside?

To everything I read – I come with a set of assumptions. I carry an invisible world of literature with me. For example, when reading Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Harraway I loved it – but only because of the previous information I'd absorbed. I could understand the cyborg as a foray – much like the one presented by Cixous and Clément. A foray only makes sense when I understand male privilege and the monosex presented by sexual difference feminists. I am ready to see it as just a foray after accepting the dismantling of the Italian feminist collectives of the 1970s. Furthermore, foray makes sense in reference to the attempts of the hysteric and the sorceress. The hysteric only makes sense after reading Brown's case studies and then Bordo's linking of the hysteric to the anorexic to the agoraphobic. Finally, hysteric and sorceress are linked by Freud – but linked properly when criticized by Clément. If that made sense to you – we are watching the same television channel. If it didn't – your confusion is exactly my point. How can I reference or speak about anything to anyone, when to speak about one thing requires an hour long lecture about how I even got to thinking about it in the first place?

Then there comes the question – are there multiple readings of Harraway I can never comprehend? My understanding of her relies on work she does not reference, but work I bring to the table to myself and link to hers. So to understand feminism would mean to read everything – and I mean everything. What if the excerpts from books I'm reading are skewed and I should be reading the whole book? It is common practice in universities to just read an isolated chapter here and there. The more I read though – the more I feel detached from, and unable to speak to, people who don't read feminist literature. How can feminism move forward if our theories and understanding are inaccessible to people because they must be well read to understand them? This has nothing to do with intelligence, but instead is about how much someone reads and what they have learned. Or better yet, how can I even propose challenging that, because isn't feminism about freedom, and shouldn't we be able to theorize as much as possible so that we can get to the right definition and practice of freedom?

I am left baffled and exhausted. The people watching my television channel is so small – sometimes it even feels as if there is no one at all. It feels as if I'm watching three channels at once and merging them all together in my mind: vegan feminism, sexual difference feminism, and radical feminism. So when I speak I speak from all three places, and create the bind myself. When I move forward I speak from places that do not seem to connect, and connect them in my writing – but to understand why I connect them, you'd probably have had to read about all three before.

So that is the bind.

Who am I even speaking to anymore? And if I change my speech to find the audience, am I still speaking for myself?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ladybugs in the House in Winter

Ladybugs wandering into homes during the Winter is a common occurrence where I live. Think of this blog post as a guide to better understanding ladybugs in general and as a helpful step by step method to compassionately ensure the survival of your friendly visitors during the Winter. I consider this a vegan and feminist issue because we as humans should protect other species because they have a right to life.

To begin I think I'd like to discuss ladybugs in general, as I find most ill will towards animals often stems from a lack of knowledge. You don't necessarily have to love (or even like) ladybugs, but if you recognize that they are unique creatures that are the subject of a life it suddenly makes sense to protect them when you find one in your home and it's too cold to simply put the ladybug back outdoors, throwing them out in the snow, or killing them.

Ladybugs are more properly referred to as Coccinellidae and are sometimes also called ladybird beetles or lady beetles. The harlequin ladybug (common to North America) is a human introduced species and was brought here in 1916 to control aphids - but is now becoming a "pest" itself. Some ladybugs eat plants rather than other insects. When threatened ladybugs can release a venomous toxin , a bad taste, or play dead. That is why it is important when you find a ladybug to gently prod the insect - and if the ladybug doesn't move, stick around and wait. I've witnessed many a "dead" ladybug suddenly decide to move 10 minutes later, or at worst when I've accidentally knocked them onto their back (trying to move them onto a paper to put them somewhere else) and their little legs start scrambling. Ladybugs live 1-3 years in general and do hibernate over the Winter. They hibernate over the Winter under the ground (I assume only where it snows or gets very cold), and if possible in large groups. Like all other animals ladybugs have hearts, can experience pain, and can suffer.

When it gets cold (at least where I live) ladybugs begin to look for places to hibernate. They can sometimes come into homes where it is warmer. You will often find them in bathrooms or other places where there is dampness. The first step upon finding a live ladybug is to carefully release him or her outside. If it seems cold - you need to make a call. My rule of thumb is that if it's too cold to go outside without a Winter jacket, do not release the ladybug. If you expect it to get very cold in the next 2 days, keep the ladybug inside in case they can't go into hibernation in time. If you expect it to get warmer and it's a little cold, keep them in for now.

Once you've decided that the ladybug must stay inside, you must contain them. Ladybugs often wander around your house in search of food, get lost, and then die. I have had many ladybugs I left alone disappear, and show up dead a few days later. This also happens to ladybugs that escape their temporary enclosures. So when I find a ladybug I get some sort of container that you can see through and will let light in. The size of the container is not extremely important - but please make it at least more than 2 cups large. The container must be closed so that the ladybug can't escape, but can still breathe. For my last ladybug I took a vase, covered the top with a kleenex (to be more breathable), and poked 20 small holes in it. I kept the kleenex on by putting an elastic band on it.

In your container put a damp kleenex or paper towel on the floor. It should be wet enough to be all wet, but not enough that it drips on its own (and could make a little flood). Then sprinkle sugar on the wet kleenex for the ladybug to eat. If your container is very large you can put a shallow dish of water in and dissolve the sugar directly into it. To make your ladybug comfortable you can add a few leaves from nontoxic house plants (like spider plants), from your fridge (like lettuce or carrot tops) or branches.

Then release your ladybug when it gets warmer. While it may be interesting, or even fun, to keep a ladybug in the home - remember that the ladybug is an individual and not a spectacle for your enjoyment. Firstly, this is not an ideal diet for a ladybug and would probably not allow one to live a long and healthy life. Furthermore, the ladybug would like to explore the world and live out their life in their own way. Let them have that decision and control over their own life.