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Reasons why insects are beneficial

Insects are beneficial.

For some reason, most people grow up thinking “Ew” whenever they think “Insect.” However, the vast majority of insects are actually beneficial to humans and the environment. Even those that we think of as annoying, such as mosquitoes, can actually be beneficial in some way. Mosquitoes are actually pollinators. A type of no see ums in Mexico, which are considered a pest, pollinate cacao beans, so we wouldn’t have chocolate without “bothersome” insects.

Photo of a mosquito on a flower

Male mosquitoes don’t bite humans; they drink nectar and act as pollinators.

There are so many different types of insects in the world. More than 1.5 million insect species have been named, and we have no idea how many haven’t been identified yet.

There are more than 200 million insects for every human living on the planet today — between 1 quadrillion and 10 quadrillion.

Yet, we somehow lump every insect into the group of “Ew” or “Yuck.”

Some reasons that insects are actually beneficial include:

Pollination

You may have heard that one in three bites of food that you take is due to pollinators. These pollinators include butterflies, bees, thrips, beetles, ants and more. Some plants can’t grow food at all without pollinators, and some just need pollination to make better, tastier and higher quality foods.

Pollination is also important for aesthetics. Imagine a world without flowers, and you’re imagining a world without pollinators.

Decomposition

Many insects help to break down organic matter. We need insect decomposers to protect us from disease, to speed along decomposition, to clear space on Earth, to get rid of garbage.

Photo of ants on watermelon

Ants help break down food that is left behind.

Food

Although it’s not common in the U.S., insects are an important source of protein for different cultures around the world. They are also important food sources for wildlife. Without insects, the food chain would quickly break down, and our larger animals would starve.

Population control

Sometimes it seems like a certain insect doesn’t have any redeeemable qualities, like a deer tick for instance. However, some insects are important for population control. Deer ticks are parasites and do carry disease, but that will sometimes help to keep an animal population under control, like the deer population, for example.

Products

Insects also provide humans with a wide variety of products that we use. Beeswax, pollen and honey are all highly utilized products produced by bees. Silk is a valuable product produced by worms.

Insects get a bad wrap. Without them, our world would be a much different, and much worse, place.

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