- from Insects
How many kinds of insects are there? No one knows for sure.
But scientists think there may be 9 million insect species on Earth. That’s based on how many new species have been found in rain forests. You’ll find insects almost everywhere on the planet, except in the ocean. Insects adapt to almost any environment. Wings are a big help. Not all insects have them, but no other invertebrates (animals without a backbone) have them at all. Wings let insects travel farther to look for food and a place to live.
They’re small, but they have a big effect on us. Silk and honey are two products we get straight from insects. But they help us in other important ways. Bees carry pollen from one plant to another. That’s how most flowering plants make new seeds. That includes fruits and vegetables. People eat insects all over the world. Makes sense, too: there’s a lot of protein in some bugs!
We don’t always get along so well with insects. Sure, bees and wasps help crops grow, but caterpillars and beetles may eat those same crops. And what about mosquitoes? Some bites do more than make you itch. In many tropical areas, malaria kills about a half a million people per year. There’s one species of mosquito that carries malaria. You may have heard of the plague. It was a disease that killed millions of people hundreds of years ago. Fleas didn’t cause the plague, but they carried the tiny organisms that did.