Are you bugged by bugs? If so, perhaps you just don’t know enough about them.
For example, did you know not all bugs are insects?
Bugs are characterized by their tough forewings and lack of teeth, as in the beetle. A bug also gets its food through a straw-like mouth that sucks the juices from plants.
Insects, on the other hand, have a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen) which may include two pairs of wings along with three pairs of legs. Bees and mosquitoes are good examples of insects.
Millions of Years “Bugging” Earth!
Insects and bugs have been around for millions of years. Scientists estimate there are over one million species of insects on the earth and more are being discovered all the time.
Another way to look at this is 3 out of 4 creatures on the planet today are insects and bugs. We are vastly outnumbered, and it’s probably a good thing we can defend ourselves against these critters.
All that “Bugging” Has a Purpose
Some people may view bugs and insects as a nuisance, after all, who hasn’t felt the sting of a pesky mosquito? However, bugs and insects do play a vital role in our ecosystem.
Without insects and bugs, many species of birds, frogs, lizards, and animals would starve to death.
We also depend on these creepy crawlies to compost our waste materials and pollinate some of our food sources. Crops like apples, avocados, blueberries, and almonds (to a name a few) all depend on bees to cross-pollinate their blossoms, as well as other flower-bearing plants.
The Problem With Some Bugs
While not all insects and bugs are helpful, we take precautions against the disease carriers like ticks, fleas, and mosquitos. It is a small price to pay for a perfect ecosystem with food and flowers, wouldn’t you agree?
Plus, there is only about one percent of insects and bugs that pose a problem to our health.
Some “Fun” Bugs!
Even if we may find bugs a nuisance, they are still quite fascinating.
Take the hard-working bee. It has to travel on average of 43,000 miles (69,201 kilometers) to make one pound (0.45 kilograms) of honey. Plus, it has to do this with hair on its eyes!
One of the biggest bugs around today is the Stag beetle. It can grow up to 4.7 inches long (12 centimeters). If this isn’t creepy enough, it has two big protruding mandibles that resemble the antlers on a stag (hence its name).
If you think that bug is big, you are in for a surprise. Back in the prehistoric era lived a giant dragonfly or griffinfly. This insect had huge mandibles and a wingspan of 2.5 feet (0.7 meters)! You would have needed a lot of bug spray for that beast.
Whether we like bugs and insects or only think about them when we are being annoyed, they are here to stay. However, remember without bugs, this world would be a very different place.
Both bugs and insects play an important role, and perhaps with a little research, we can all come to appreciate them.
At least until we feel the itch from another mosquito bite…
Read our interview with Entomologist, Autumn Angelus. She’s dedicated her life to being “bugged!”