Friend or Foe?

 Friend or Foe?

bugsYour planet’s sun bakes the ground intensely. You’re out on a patrol with valuable cargo, encased in an indestructible, airtight chamber in your pack. You pause to rest, but are suddenly interrupted by an army of red, brawny soldiers heading straight for you, or more likely, the treasure you carry. You load your weapon and brace yourself for impact. It’s you against them… one versus a billion.

From another point of view, you’re out for a picnic on a sunny summer day, with your food protected in a container, nestled in a closed picnic basket. After spreading out your blanket to enjoy your meal, an endless trail of hungry ants come along seeking a bit of your watermelon to take back to their nest. Without thinking, you pull out your bug-spray and start firing away.

Think of all the living, sentient creatures you just killed! “But they’re just bugs,” you might say. Exactly. That’s the problem, why do some consider killing animals bad and killing insects okay? If they exhibit many similar behaviors and intelligence, why aren’t insect and arachnids treated like animals too? They’re just trying to survive! In case this thought provoking logic hasn’t convinced you that you should pause the next time you think about stepping on a tiny creature, here are some incredible scientific facts by Encyclopedia Smithsonian to consider.

Pollination: Pollination of plants by insects are almost too numerous to be counted. Honeybees are one of the most important pollinators, and 80 percent of them live in the U.S. Pollination by Honeybees in the U.S. produces $20 billion dollars in crops per year, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Silk: China produces almost 30,000 tons of raw silk, which accounts for 80 percent of the world’s supply and allows humans to produce beautiful, soft clothing. Most silk is produced from the Silkworm.
Natural and biological control: The balance of nature depends on parasites and predators, the majority of which are insects. Researchers use related concepts in biological control of all kinds of problems, and have been successful in many programs.
Foods: Honey is certainly high on the list of products made by insects that are commonly consumed by humans. But did you know that it takes almost 23,000 bees to fill a single jar of honey? Many insects are eaten every day as nourishment in 3rd world countries, but also as novelties in the United States. You can even find “pesteraunts” which feature specialty insects rich in protein and nutrients!

(WARNING: the following information may be too disgusting for some people and may result in not wanting to eat anything ever again.)

Also, did you know that most companies use bugs in normal, everyday foods you eat? In fact, they help keep the food fresh and preserved for a better and healthier taste! (don’t think about it, just eat your candy bar.Yummy!)

Grasshoppers: $1.97 ea.
larvas: $0.75 ea.
Maggots: 425 p. of $184,792,533.95 ea.(J.K.)

So the next time your first instinct is to go smashing away, think again of just how important that little guy is and maybe you’ll decide to just move him out of the way.

— written by Tyler H.  A bit about the author:  Tyler comes from a line of 7th century irish vikings called “O hAnnain’s” (yes, it’s spelled that way!) –meaning THE TERRIBLE! — and has a personal world record for the largest Jack Russell ever.  And was born with a cleft (open) top lip.

Works Cited

“Encyclopedia | Smithsonian.” 2010. 4 Mar. 2015

“Omlet.” 2010. 4 Mar. 2015 <https://www.omlet.us/>

“The Food Channel®: Great Recipes, Food Trends and Ideas.” 4 Mar. 2015

 

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