By: Vamika Sharma
There are a lot of insects in the world, they are more populated than any other phylum on Earth. It is estimated that insects have the largest biomass of land-dwelling animals, and at any given time, there are roughly 10 quintillion individual insects alive. There are an estimated 5 million different species and only 1/5th of all species have been discovered. So, what seems to be the problem? The International Union for Conservation of Nature has been tracking 2200 species of insects and found that nearly half face declining populations. These crucial insects are challenged by climate change, loss of habitat and pesticides which are threatening their existence.
Many of us may be disgusted, startled or afraid of these insects but they play a crucial role on this planet. Firstly, they serve as food to other organisms higher on the food-chain such as birds, fish, frogs and even bears. The decline in insect population has also been linked to the decline of bird populations, harming entire ecosystems. These tiny-creatures play a large role in decomposing waste, releasing nutrients permitting a constant flow of nutrients to other organisms who need them. As odd as it may seem, bugs help control pest populations. Many predatory bugs get rid of pests by feeding on crop-threaning pests such as the damsel bug which can eat a million aphids a day! As we all know, pollinators play crucial roles in plant reproduction. Around 75% of crop plant species and 90% of flowering species rely on pollination by animals meaning one out of every three bites of food we eat depends on these organisms to reproduce. Finally, many smaller insects such as termites and ants create hospitable soils through tunneling by aerating the ground, increasing water retention and adding nutrients. In many regions, infertile lands had been transformed into croplands within one year of the introduction of termite colonies.
As individuals, there is much we can do to stimulate insect populations and avoid future damage. Knowing that these insects rely heavily on plants, plant a garden with local plants that are known to attract butterflies, bees, wasps, moths and more! This will also make a colorful and beautiful addition to your property. Next, avoid using chemicals (pesticides, weed-killers, etc) on your lawn or garden to avoid harming other plants and bugs. Instead, if necessary, introduce pest repelling plants to your garden or lawn which will keep harmful bugs away but attract butterflies and bees. You can avoid disturbing the insects’ natural navigation system (they rely on light levels as cues for courtship, foraging, and navigating) by turning off your outdoor lights as much as possible!
Check out https://xerces.org/ to find Region-specific resources to aid in the planning, establishment, restoration, and maintenance of a pollinator habitat.
Kolbert, Elizabeth. "Where Have All the Insects Gone?" National Geographic May 2020: 40-65. Print.
David Yeates Director of the Australian National Insect Collection, Katja Hogendoorn University of Adelaide, and Manu Saunders Research Fellow. "Scientists Fear Insect Populations Are Shrinking. Here Are Six Ways to Help." The Conversation. 18 Nov. 2020. Web. 06 Jan. 2021.
6/23/2021 01:32:12 am
This is good. Pest control is essential nowadays. Thank you for sharing this post, and looking forward to the latest one.
Leave a Reply.
Welcome to Seeds for Thought, the TUGI Blog where we will be highlighting incredible stories of environmental activists and change makers, environmental news, and tips to living a more green and sustainable lifestyle. If you are interested in learning more about what we are doing on a monthly basis, subscribe to our TUGI Newsletter.