Stink bugs, red bugs
Pond skaters, bed bugs,
Backswimmers, blue bugs:
Reckon you’re the true bugs ?
What about the caterpillars ?
What about the slugs ?
What about the woodlice,
And the dust mites in our rugs ?
What about the centipedes ?
What about the lugs ?
What about the spiders
That come crawling up our plugs ?
What about bacteria ?
Who sets the criteria ?
What about the itches,
And the robots and the glitches ?
Tell me, heteroptera,
Just why are you the only bugs ?
Just why must this old word refer
To nothing but your sucking mugs ?
Well, don’t start getting smug
In your taxonomic snug –
You buggers think you have the clout,
But other bugs are bugging-out.
How come you can appropriate
A catchall word that used to state
For any old invertebrate ?
I ask and ask, but all I get are shrugs.
Your copyright’s a crying shame
When yours is not the only claim,
So find another common name,
And let all buggy bugging bugs be bugs.

A ‘backswimmer’ is an Americanism for a waterboatman. In this case, I used it because it has the right number of syllables. ‘Tunderbugs’ usually refers to thripses, but in my playground I remember it being applied to those tiny bright red spots that come out on the hottest days of Summer (probably red spider mites).

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