When we talk about the importance of insects, we immediately remember their economic role. However, they are of ecological, medical and even crime resolution importance.
All of us, at some point, have come across insects , be it a fly, a cockroach, a caterpillar or even a flea. Although, in most cases, we imagine an unpleasant situation, insects are important both ecologically and economically.
Firstly, we must think that insects are part of numerous food chains , serving as food for animals such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. If insects were completely eliminated from an area, the ecological imbalance would be very large, as it would affect a large number of living beings. It is worth mentioning that, in some parts of the world, insects are used as food even by humans.
In addition to the role in the food chain, many insects, such as butterflies and bees, are essential for the reproduction of some plants . Insects are important pollinators, that is, they act by transferring the pollen grain from one plant to another, ensuring its fertilization. It is estimated that these animals are responsible for the pollination of about two thirds of the total angiosperms.
In addition to ecological importance, insects have economic importance, being used by man to produce various products. Bees, for example, are bred (apiculture) for the production of honey, wax, propolis and royal jelly, products whose sale is highly profitable. Another widely used insect is the silkworm, which produces a cocoon from which the silk thread is removed.
Insects also play an important role with regard to criminalistics. Necrophagous insects, which feed on corpses, can help obtain information about the time and place of a person’s death. For this, the researcher only needs to analyze the species found there and to know their habits well. It’s called forensic entomology technique that relates insects and other arthropods the details of a crime.
In addition to the benefits, insects can cause some damage to humans . This is the case with grasshoppers, for example, which destroy entire crops. Another insect that causes damage to farmers is the fruit fly, which attacks the vast majority of fruit plants. This fly lays eggs inside the fruit, which subsequently hatch and give rise to larvae that damage the product, making it unsuitable.
Some insects are still of medical importance, as they cause a large number of diseases. Mosquitoes, for example, are vectors of serious diseases for the population, such as malaria , yellow fever, dengue , chikungunya fever and filariasis. In addition to mosquitoes, fleas, lice, barbers and other insects cause disease in humans.
It is worth mentioning that these arthropods also cause diseases in other animals. A very common example is the presence of fleas in dogs and cats, which can trigger allergic reactions, anemia, worms and even stress. Canine leishmaniasis is also an example of a disease caused by insects that affects the dog.
We can see, therefore, that insects, despite causing disturbances at times, are responsible for the balance of ecosystems, in addition to being of economic importance.