4 Reasons Why Insects Are Beneficial 

We don’t blame you if insects aren’t your cup of tea. According to Jeffrey Lockwood, many people run from insects (or squash them on sight) partly because of evolution and partly because we feel a sense of invasion when we find them scuttling around our private spaces. 

But perhaps we can persuade you to see that insects aren’t, in fact, the creepy crawlers society has made them out to be. Of the 900,000 types of insects, only 5% are harmful. 

Let’s explore four reasons why insects are beneficial to humans and the world at large. 

#1 Insects Aid in Pollination 

Pollination is a process that helps plants from crops to wildflowers reproduce season after season. Insects, such as bees, play an essential role in this cycle. As they gracefully buzz from one flower to the next in search of nectar, they unknowingly gather pollen grains and transfer them to other flowers, fertilizing them as they go. Other pollinators include butterflies, moths, flies, beetles and wasps. 

#2 They Help in the Decomposition Process 

After plants and animals die, they slowly decompose back into the ground. Beetles and flies help speed up this process. Beetles in particular have strong mouthparts and powerful digestive enzymes that make it easy to break down plant material and animal remains. 

Flies, too, dine on the corpses of dead animals. Fly larvae and their parents feast on the body’s fluids, eventually feeding on the corpse’s interior as it continues to decay. While the visual isn’t glamorous, they’re doing their part to ensure that decaying flora and fauna turn into essential nutrients that are beneficial for the soil and its surrounding plants. 

#3 Insects Provide Natural Pest Control 

While the percentage of insects that pose a threat to your garden may be small, it doesn’t change the fact that certain pests enjoy munching on the plants you’ve worked so hard to cultivate. Fortunately, you can remove these pests from your garden or crops without harmful insecticides. 

Instead, opt for natural pest control in the form of other insect-consuming bugs. One of our favorites is the ladybird beetle (known to many as the ladybug). Don’t let their petite, round figure fool you. Ladybugs are voracious predators of aphids and other soft-bodied pests and can remove up to 25 aphids a day! 

Other insects that work wonders as natural pest control include: 

  • Ground beetles 
  • Praying mantises 
  • Hoverflies 
  • Parasitic wasps 

#4 They’re a Sustainable Food Source 

Earth currently plays host to 8.1 billion people. By 2037, it’s expected to be home to a staggering nine billion. With so many mouths to feed, how will the agricultural industry keep up with the demand? 

That’s where edible insects come in. Approximately 25% of the world’s population already consume insects regularly, whether they eat them cooked whole or by grinding them into powder form and baking them into other foods. Eating insects, or entomophagy, provides us with several potential benefits, including: 

  • Creating a more sustainable environment. 
  • Offering a protein-packed dietary option. 
  • Providing food security as a readily available food source. 

Start Your Career in Entomology With an Online Graduate Credential From UF 

Insects might give some people the creepy crawlies, but they’re an indispensable part of our world. Without them, critical tasks like pollination and eliminating other unwanted pests would be much more challenging. If you aspire to make a name for yourself in entomology, the University of Florida provides several entirely online graduate programs to choose from, whether you’re new to the industry or seeking to hone your skills. 

Our Master of Science in Entomology and Nematology is a 30-credit program that offers four unique specializations: 

If you’re interested in a more condensed and specialized graduate program, we also offer online graduate certificates concentrating on each of the respective specializations listed above. Each certificate consists of 15 credits and can be completed in as little as a year (but entirely on your time frame). 

If you have any questions, feel free to check out our FAQ page or contact us directly! When you’re ready, the application is only a click away


Learn More About the Program

Click for details about the Entomology and Nematology program.