That’s right, bugs. At least, that’s the slang term for these creepy crawlers and freaky fliers. They are the primary consumers of plants on this planet and also the greatest predator of plant eaters (if you don’t count how we poison them by existing and on purpose for crop improvement).
Insects are also major players in the decomposition of organic matter and materials. Not only are they major predators they are also food for many different animals and some humans. It’s good that they are edible because they out number us two hundred million to each individual human. That’s roughly forty million insects per acre and over thirty million species in all.
Remember: those are just the bugs that we remember.
Fun fact: fewer than one percent of bugs are considered pests. Most insects are considered beneficial because they are pollinators and/or predators.
Just so we are all on the same page, insects have a few things in common:
- They have their skeleton on the outside to protect their insides. This is called the exoskeleton and is made of chitin. Chitin is a tough, kind of transparent nitrogen containing polysaccharide (a carbohydrate which has molecules that contain a whole bunch of sugars bonded together)- which is related to cellulose and is used in the exoskeleton of arthropods.
- Their heart, the most important part, is located on top of the insects body.
- Their nerves are on the lower side of their body
- They smell with their antennae
- They taste with their feet
All fun things to know about insects on a basic level. Now, a lot of individuals are going to say that there is more bad than good but that is no necessarily true. First we’ll go over some of the positives of insects:
- They produce products for us such as honey, silk, wax, and assist in composting.
- They are pollinators and assist in the development of crops.
- They are food for wildlife and are usually scavengers.
- They can be a food source, if you’re brave enough.
- They are useful for research and experimental purposes. They can track quite a bit through insects from their development to their effects on crops. There are lots of things that bugs tells us.
The bad things, the ugly things, the things that concern us:
- They’re weird looking: this is ninety percent of our fear.
- They are generally annoying to humans and animals because they’re always flying around and just being where they don’t belong.
- They destroy crops because they are hungry and they are trying to survive like the rest of us.
Insects are in a larger group called arthropods. Now, arthropods are cold blooded creatures- they have an exoskeleton and no backbone. I was really surprised by that because they seem so brave when they fly head strong into my face on the porch. So, arthropods are above insects. Insects are inside the phylum -> arthropod.
If you are going to be doing any work on your land you, like me, should be aware of what the world we live in populates. Who knew that this was going to be so fascinating?
I must contribute all knowledge to Dr. Drake at TAMUC. I am taking classes in order to benefit my home. Why shouldn’t I make my love for plants a real thing? Regardless, I can’t wait to share what I am currently learning in class with you, because it’s fun to share.
This does not make up for being in a college class where things are better explained. Please do your own research about the bugs in your area.
Butterflies and Moths in North America is one of many resources that are available to the public. Check it out and find out what kind of lepidoptera (fancy official word for the order in which butterflies and moths come from) you are dealing with or are in your area. Enjoy the crappy moth pictures.