100 Day Challenge #42: Protect your insects
We were at our home the other day, when a gentleman rang the doorbell and he informed us he was with an exterminating company that was doing some work in our neighborhood. He said we had bugs in our trees and garden, but not to worry because he could get rid of them. We quickly informed him that those bugs were our friends and welcome at our home. Why would we want to get rid of something that is one of the keystones to our ecosystem and food chain and vital to so many animal and plant populations?
Insects are the largest animal population in the world, and it's estimated that roughly 40% of the 30 million or so insect species on earth are now threatened with extinction.
Insects are at the base of the food chain for many birds, fish and mammals and without them many animals including humans would not stand a chance for survival. They are an often unseen and underappreciated force in our world, and they not only help feed us but even clean up after us by returning earth’s nutrients back to the soil.
Although insects don't get much air time in our conversations about species preservation, they are in many ways the unsung heroes of the natural world. We know it's easy to fall in love with a cute and furry polar bear cub and be sad when we're told how much they're struggling, but the animals at the base of the food chain like insects are the ones we should really be worried about (we're not saying don't love and worry about the polar bears, do that too!). We all know that bees and other insects pollinate many of our food crops (according to the USDA, pollinators are responsible for approximately 35% of the food we eat), but they do so much more than that!
Insects are the linchpins of the living world and carrying out many of the natural processes and tasks that make life possible. Insects break down dead plants and animals and keep our world clean and sanitary, they provide us with honey, silk, and many of the raw materials we use for medicines, they're the main food source for many animals, and they share nature's beauty with us in the most interesting ways (you can't say that seeing a Monarch butterfly break out of its cocoon isn't one of the most awe-inspiring events you could witness!).
So learn to love your insects and protect them as much as they protect you! Keep the exterminators away from your home whenever possible, and don’t be afraid of the insects around you. They add so much to our lives and are vital to our survival.