According to the Florida Museum, insects amount for 80% of animal life on earth. The museum goes on to estimate that if a dollar amount was placed on the services insects provide, it would equal roughly $70 billion in the U.S. alone. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many of us are thinking of that special someone in our life and are considering ways to show them just how much they mean to us. At Mosquito Squad, we have a few special love bugs in mind. With the stats above in mind, allow us to confess our love for these 4 insects that help our environment.
Honeybees are a vital part of our food chain as they help pollinate our crops. On a global scale, there are more honeybees than any other type of pollinating bee or insect. In the United States alone, honeybee pollination impacts approximately $20 billion dollars’ worth of crops each year. Both international and domestic fruit and veggie crops are aided by honeybee pollination, including apples, cranberries, melons, broccoli, and blueberries.
Ladybugs are often considered to be a sign of good luck; a superstition that may have originated amongst gardeners. No one would be surprised to find these little bugs in a garden, nibbling on the flowering plants. However, many are usually surprised to learn that ladybugs are fierce predators. They enjoy feeding on soft-bodied insects like spider mites, whiteflies, and aphids, making them important protectors of potato plants, sweet corn, peas, beans, tomatoes, and asparagus plants.
Ants go marching one by one… to turn and aerate the soil, allowing water and oxygen to reach plant roots. There are over 700 species of ants in North America and aside from swiping your snacks, they also transport seeds down to their tunnels where they eat a specific part of the seed. After the ants have enjoyed a portion of it, the seed sprouts and grows new plants. Ants also help to keep the ecosystem clean, helping to get rid of dead insect carcasses and aiding in the decomposition of both plant and animal matter.
It’s rare that a parasite is considered to be a positive, but braconid wasps lend a helping hand to farmers and gardeners by being unconventional defenders of vegetable plants. The braconid wasp inserts its eggs into the host and the larvae then eat the host. Hosts include moth larvae, fly larvae, and beetles but the most notable host for a braconid wasp is the hornworm, which is a predator of tomato plants.
Not all insects are helpful. Mosquitoes and ticks can pose a threat to humans and pets due to the viruses they can transmit. For help defeating the ‘bad guys,’ contact your local Mosquito Squad today!