Why Do We Sometimes Dream About Insects?

Dreams have been a source of fascination for as long as humans have existed. Over the course of human history, numerous figures in such fields as psychology, neuroscience, biology, art, and philosophy have focused on understanding the meaning of the dreams that we have while sleeping. Some experts believe that dreaming occurs in order to allow humans to organize their thoughts, solve emotional problems, or to strengthen important memories. History shows that many thinkers have pondered over the meaning of insects in dreams, especially when they are featured repeatedly in an individual’s dreams. As it happens, insects are commonly reported as being in people’s dreams. Reports of insects being prominently featured in dreams dates back nearly 2,000 years.

The earliest known thinker who studied the meaning of dreams was Artemidorus Daldianus who lived during the second century AD. Daldianus believed that insects in dreams serve as symbols of a person’s cares and anxieties. However, Daldianus also believed that taking the day-to-day activities of individual dreamers into account is important for understanding what certain insects symbolize in the dreams of particular individuals. For example, for farmers, dreaming about bee swarms could be considered a sign of impending good fortune, as farmers rely on bees for pollinating crops. For any other occupation, dreaming of a bee swarm could be interpreted as impending doom or future injury.

The famed founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, is well known for his epic attempts at interpreting the meaning of dreams. Freud noticed that many of his patients had dreamt about insects, but for different reasons. Although, the reasons for dreaming about insects differ from person to person, Freud noted that insect dreams were most often negative. For example, several of Freud’s patients had dreamt about head lice. For Freud, these dreams meant that his patients had been learning things about themselves through therapy that they did not want to hear. As far as the patients were concerned, their doctor had been filling their heads with unpleasant ideas that they were forced to face, and wanted to be rid of; similar to how people want to get rid of the lice infesting their heads. Many other thinkers in history have equated dreams about killing bugs, especially body-parasites, to a real life need to be free from anxiety. Freud also believed that dreams about insect invasions indicate that a dreamer lacks control over something important in his/her life.

Have you ever had a dream about insects?