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The Different Types of Beneficial Insects in Our Environment

Beneficial Insects
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Beneficial Insects

In our world, there are millions of insect species, with over 100,000 found in the United States alone. However, less than 1% of these feed on plants in an unfavorable manner. Insects that are beneficial outnumber those that are harmful. Many of these “good bugs” actually feed on pest insects and help to keep them in check naturally. Beneficial insects pollinate crops, aid in the production of medicines and pharmaceuticals, produce silk, textiles, honey, and wax, and decompose organic matter [1].

Types of Beneficial Insects

1. Pollinators

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Figure 1. Pollinators Diversity

A pollinator is anything that assists in the transport of pollen from the male part of the flower (stamen) to the female part of the same or another flower (stigma). Pollen movement is required for the plant to become fertilized and produce fruits, seeds, and young plants. Some plants pollinate themselves, while others may be fertilized by pollen carried by wind or water. Other flowers, however, are pollinated by insects and animals such as bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, birds, flies, and small mammals such as bats [2].

2.Predators

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Figure 2. Types of Predators

Predators are animals that consume other animals, known as prey, and are usually quite active because they must hunt their prey. Predatory insects consume many pest insects and are an important component of a natural pest control program in the home garden. The most common insect predators are beetles, true bugs, lacewings, wasps, and dragonflies, as well as a few flies like the flower fly. Other arthropods, such as spiders and predatory mites, are also effective insect pest predators in the home garden [3].

3. Parasitoids

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Figure 3. Types of Parasitoids (Elbehery et al.,2020) [4]

An insect whose larvae feed and develop within or on the bodies of other arthropods is referred to as a parasitoid. Each parasitoid larva grows on a single host and eventually kills it. The majority of parasitoids are wasps, but some flies, beetles, moths, lacewings, and even one caddisfly species have evolved to be parasitoids. There are approximately 68,000 named species of parasitoids alone, with the majority yet to be named and described. The total number of parasitoid species, both described and unknown, is estimated to be around 800,000 [5].

References

[1]Beneficial Insects. 2021. University of Florida, USA.

[2]National Park Service. What is a Pollinator ?

[3]Mike Raupp, Jon Traunfeld, and Chris Sargent. 2022. What are predatory insects?. University of Maryland.

[4] Elbehery, H., Saleh, M., El-Wakeil, N. (2020). Propagation and Application of Larval Parasitoids. In: El-Wakeil, N., Saleh, M., Abu-hashim, M. (eds) Cottage Industry of Biocontrol Agents and Their Applications. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33161-0_2

[5]Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2015, December 28). parasitoid. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/parasitoid

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