For some time now a theory has been coagulating in my brain. First, in no particular order, some factoids:*
Since 2008, more than half the world's population live in urban environments.
Most people no longer have to compete directly with predators and scavengers for their food.
Humans need a certain amount of stimulation and will actively seek it.
Fear and excitement produces adrenalin.
Many people watch television for stimulation.
Television encourages people to stay indoors.
In the past, most real insect encounters occurred outside
These days, most real insect encounters occur inside the home.
For many people, television 'nature' programmes or movies are the main information source for ideas of 'nature'.
Many 'nature' programmes sensationalize insects.
More people than in the past are exhibiting signs of insect phobias.
Putting all these together I come up with my theory:
That the real life connections and encounters between humans and insects is decreasing and being replaced by sensationalist, adrenalin-driven exaggerations and simplifications portrayed in many television nature programmes. This will result in increasing incidence of disconnections, gross discrepancies, myths, phobias, and generally foolish misunderstandings and silly stories about insects and other little critters. This is in an age where the biological knowledge-base of this group of animals has never been larger and is growing all the time. The reality is actually much, much more marvelous! But more complex and subtle.
So, if it has been a while since you've had a real insect-human encounter, may I politely suggest you go outside soon...and leisurely watch. Ants. Or something. Maybe take a kid along too?
* May or may not be true.