The Importance of Insects
Some people, when they think of bugs say, “Ew they’re gross, I hope they all die…”, but what exactly would happen if they did all die? I bet people never really asked that question. Believe it or not but insects are very important to the environment. Insects are absolutely everywhere and are the most common animals all over the world. Insects come in all shapes and sizes and each of them have different features that make them unique. Some people never learn the importance of insects and bugs, some people might ask why houseflies or flies in general even exist because they can be the most annoying insects in the world. They do exist for many purposes, for one, they help break down and consume garbage, feces and dead animal bodies, some species also help pollinate plants. Did you know that forensic labs sometimes use the appearance of the blowfly larvae to help determine the time of death in a murder case or homicide? Yes, it might sound a bit weird but it is true. There is so much to a fly than meets the eye and the Garden Walk has much more information on it. My point is that insects are important and we rely on them as they preform a variety amount of important functions no matter what the bug is and how annoying they can be, they are very crucial components of hundreds if not thousands of ecosystems.
Insects live everywhere, to the extreme cold Artic climates and the harsh heat in the dessert, but they mainly live in tropical and warm climates. According to the CK-12 Foundation, it says, “They aerate the soil, pollinate blossoms, and control insect and plant pests. Many insects, especially beetles, are scavengers, feeding on dead animals and fallen trees, thereby recycling nutrients back into the soil.” This is true as many insects are great decomposers and many others play a huge rule in food webs and in ecosystems as primary consumers in a food chain. For example, in a forest there is oak tree leaves (primary producer) on the ground and caterpillars who are herbivores, just like 90% of other insects who are also herbivores, eat the leaves and then the caterpillar gets eaten by the blue jay and that gives the blue jay some food for its system. Certain insects also pray on other insects that help keep the population from passing the carrying capacity of that insect. The praying mantis is a good example of an insect that keeps control of the size of certain insect populations, such as caterpillars and aphids. If they was no praying mantis then that would throw off the food chain since there wouldn’t be an insect to control the size of certain populations, those populations would explode in huge numbers and can effect the area around them. Did you also know, “that all insects fertilize the soil with the nutrients from their droppings”, yes, and not just that but many insects produce useful substances that are used by us people. Examples are, honey, wax and silk, all of those are produced by insects.
In my opinion, I think insects are very interesting creatures and that every single one of them are unique with different features. For example, the butterfly and the moth, both insects that are stunning in every way. Both of them are indicators of a healthy environment and ecosystems. Areas that have many butterflies and moths means that area is rich in invertebrates, which is an animal that lacks a backbone, or is spineless. Butterflies are widely used by ecologists to help them study the impact (if there’s any) of habitat loss, and climate change. Not just that but many butterflies are beautiful due to their colored wings with stunning colors. Insects have always been in my life and in everybody’s life. I learned the importance of insects when I was small and I noticed in our garden that many caterpillars had been eating the leaves way before it even started growing, than when it finally grew, I saw that there was a praying mantis there and I was told not to bother it. I was told that the praying mantis eats other bugs like caterpillars to prevent them from eating the plants. I was so amazed by this because ever since then I became very curious of other animals and insects. It shows that even one small bug as a huge impact on the world.
For more information you can go on Mother Earth News for facts about insects you may have never heard of.