Are Bugs Bugging You (and Your Horse?)
“Bugs are not going to inherit the earth; they own it now, so we might as well make peace with the landlord.” –Thomas Eisner (1929-2011), world authority on animal behavior, ecology and evolution and a professor at Cornell University.
When you see a bug do you immediately kill it? Next time you might consider this:
- Insects have been around for about 350 million years, compared to humans at merely 300 thousand years.
- Over 1 million species of insects have been described, or identified, but it is estimated that 20-50 million are in existence. Compare that to a measly 4,000 species of mammals and you can see we are far outnumbered!
- There are an estimated 200 million insects for every human on earth.
- A very small percentage of insect species are “bad” (less than 3%), making the rest either harmless, beneficial or in some cases critical to the survival of other species of plants and animals.
- Insects do many jobs, including pollination and decomposition of material. They are also food for many other species such as birds, frogs, bats and other insects. If we didn’t have insects our planet would be covered in dead things, garbage and disease and many of us would starve.
In recent decades, it has been common practice to control nuisance insects by indiscriminately spraying chemical insecticides over whole properties and even entire cities. Of course this practice kills more than the target insect and many beneficial insects also die in the process. Pesticides and herbicides can have harmful effects on us as well as on birds, animals and aquatic life. The 1962 book, “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carlson sparked a national debate about the effects of insect-controlling chemicals on the
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