Useful and beneficial insects

  •  Friday, August 4th, 2023  Animalsforkids

    Around 900000 insect species existing on the earth have been identified, it is about 80% of all species of organisms on the earth. Nine out of ten persons hate insects. Even you would be an insect hater but would be surprised to know that all insects are not harmful, some insects are extremely beneficial for mankind. If you hate insects as home invaders and destructors of crops then you also ought to love them as pollinators and soil aerators. You would be pleasantly surprised to know that 97% of insects are either beneficial or benign and only 3% are harmful.

    Categorization of beneficial insects

    The predators, the parasitoids and the pollinators are three types of beneficial insects. Predatory insects serve us humans by feeding on harmful insects. Ground beetles, spiders, ladybird beetles, lacewings, syrphid flies, aphid midges etc. are some examples of predatory insects. Female parasitoids lay eggs on or inside host insects to eventually kill them. Tachinid flies and parasitic wasps are examples of parasitoids. One very important category of insects is that of pollinators. These insects are involved in pollination. While visiting flowers to feed on nectar these insects transport pollen from stamen to stigma. They play vital role in fruit and seed production. Moths, butterflies, wild bees, and honey bees are some examples of pollinators.

    Important beneficial insects

    Bees are most significant pollinators. Pollination is vital for production of food crops to feed humans and domestic animals. Honeybees provide us honey too. Praying mantis is a predator that feeds on harmful bugs. Ladybugs or ladybird beetles are predators that feed on harmful pests. Dragonflies too are predatory insects feeding on harmful insects. Butterflies are as great pollinators as bees. Green lacewings and some spiders are also beneficial predatory insects.

    Economically important insects

    Edible insects safe for human consumption are raw material for food industry. These edible insects are rich in nutrients. Crickets, houseflies, locusts, ants, mealworms etc. are being mass-produced for human consumption. Insects are being extensively used in pharma industry. Different types of antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are extracted from insects. Insects are used in cosmetic industry to make dye, nail polish etc. Essential oils extracted from insects like locusts and crickets are regarded as safe for facial use. Insects play very important roles in agriculture. Pollinator insects are simply vital for agriculture and pest control insects are important too. Silk industry is completely dependent on cocoon formed by insect larvae, most importantly cocoon formed by larvae of silkworm.