In our line of business, we have learned most people don’t like a lot of insects. It’s understandable! They can cause a lot of problems, and sometimes all we want to do is just get rid of bugs that are making life difficult, but insects play a vital role in our ecosystem and daily lives! From clothing to food products there are a handful of insects that we’re very thankful for.

Ants

About 20% of insects feed on, well, trash and dead things. A study by North Carolina State University found that arthropods, particularly ants, are amazing at cleaning up our human food waste. This helps keep cities cleaner, and insects don’t spread disease like other trash eating animals (like say rats). Formicine ants also help to break down compost piles of recycled food scraps.

Honeybees

Pollination and honey – these two things alone make honeybees truly beneficial insects. Many plants, including crops, reproduce with the help of insects. Bugs like honeybees fly from plant to plant looking for sweet nectar. As they move along they pick up spores and seeds on their body that get redistributed at the next place they stop.

Other insects do this as well, but humans get an extra benefit from honeybees thanks to the delicious byproduct they make with the nectar. They are also the source for natural wax that can be used in candles, lip balm and more.

Ladybugs

There are many bugs that you want to keep out of your garden, but ladybugs aren’t one of them. They are super cute, and as a plus, ladybugs are also stealth predators. Their prey of choice is destructive insect species. We like to refer to ladybugs as our co-workers. They provide pest control treatments in your garden, which we understand some people are hesitant to spray.

Silkworms

Silk is a beautifully delicate fabric that was once highly coveted and has a rich history. At least 5,000 years ago, (possibly earlier) the Chinese figured out that silkworms spun a fine filament for their cocoons. Somehow, someone discovered that after a little more than a week, the cocoons could be steamed and dipped into hot water to unwind the cocoons and release a long thread of silk.

Silk became a huge business for China with six provinces producing the fabric. They were highly protective of the secret process and quickly cornered the market, but eventually the word got out on how the fabric was made, and production burst worldwide.

Crickets

We’ve created a few fun posts about eating bugs, a trend that’s actually starting to catch on in the U.S. It may seem completely foreign to us, but in other countries bugs are regular menu items, and some are even highly prized delicacies. Crickets are often the insects people like to eat most.

Crickets are a food staple for people, pets and fishing. Just about every creature higher up on the food chain likes to indulge in crickets. They have a ton of protein, can be prepared in many different ways and they can be farmed more sustainably than other meats like cows. Crickets can feed off of processed post-consumer waste so they are helping us reduce our landfills.

Butterflies

Turns out butterflies aren not just easy on the eyes, they also are barometers for the ecosystem. Because butterflies migrate, their movements can provide insight on possible habitat degradation or environmental changes that affect their travel patterns. Ecologists carefully examine how butterflies move around to identify spots where human environmental impact may need to be addressed.