Insects & Bugs

Insects. Bugs. When you read those words, you probably automatically think of the insects you don't like or are afraid of, or ones you consider annoying or dangerous pests like mosquitoes, fire ants, wasps and ticks among others. And while it might be nice to think of humans being able to live in a world without them, it would be disastrous for the environment. They are food for other insects, birds, bats, animals and even humans. Without the pollinators, the plants that provide oxygen that we breathe and food that we eat would be devastated. There are many beneficial insects (like bees and other pollinators) as well as parasitic insects (like many types of wasps and flies) that feed on and eventually kill the host insects. Use of insecticides in an attempt to control those insects we see as pests can have far-reaching effects on our planet and the life that inhabits it.

Misconceptions & Facts

Fiction: All bugs are insects and all insects are bugs, including spiders.
Fact: The phylum Arthropoda includes insects (like ants, grasshoppers, bees and flies), arachnids (spiders), myriapods (centipedes), and crustaceans (crawfish, lobsters). True bugs (stink bugs, water striders, cicadas) are part of the insect order so all insects are not bugs.

Fiction: Bees gather honey from flowers.
Fact: Bees gather nectar which they turn into honey using specialized enzymes in their special "honey stomachs." As bees go from flower to flower gathering nectar, a sweet and sugary liquid, they accidentally get pollen grains on their legs and transfer them to other flowers resulting in pollination. Bees use pollen as their main food source of proteins, fats and vitamins. Nectar is their main source of carbohydrates.

Fiction: Insects make sounds with their mouths.
Fact: Insects do not have vocal cords so they use different body parts to make vibrations - like rubbing their wings or forelegs together.

Fiction: All insects and spiders are bad and should be killed.
Fact: Few are threats of any kind to us. Many are vital to our well-being and perform many important jobs in the ecosystem from pollination to decomposition, and keeping pest populations in check. Granted, you probably don't want them inside your home, but when outside, it's usually best to leave them alone unless they are a true hazard to people and pets, or are destroying property. Respect them as you would any other wildlife.