Annoying Insects That Are Actually Beneficial
Have you ever walked outside to realize you are surrounded by swarms of lovebugs and then five minutes later they seem to have been blown away? Or you find little red bugs with black dots crawling under your front door? Maybe you’re even taking a walk at night and a handful of bugs light up in front of you?
While love bugs and lady bugs can be of a nuisance and lightning bugs are mesmerizing to watch, we forget how beneficial these insects are to our environment.
Although these insects have one of the most interesting reproduction techniques and tend to be annoying, they are beneficial to our environment.
Lovebug’s larvae are beneficial as they help to decompose dead plant material. The larvae can be found on and in the soil under decaying plants, from which they feed on.
The larvae convert the dead vegetation into humus (a dark, organic and nutritious matter that improves the health of soil).
This type of insect is associated with a common superstition of good luck – if one lands on you, you’re not supposed to brush it off but instead, count the black spots to reveal the amount of months you will have good luck. Beyond superstition, ladybugs really do bring luck to farmers.
Farmers love them because they eat plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help protect the crops.
According to National Geographic, ladybugs will lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae instantly begin to feed.
LIGHTNING BUGS (FIREFLIES)
Beyond giving us magical evenings to enjoy one of nature’s most intriguing insects, lightning bugs have a handful of benefits for the environment and humans according to the University of Georgia Press. These benefits include:
- Provide clues about the health of our environment. Lightning bug populations disappear when conditions degrade.
- Lightning bugs naturally have luciferase (chemical that allows them to glow) in their bodies. Blood banks use luciferase-based tests to monitor the freshness of their blood supplies.
- Crime investigators use luciferase-based tests to detect traces of blood.
- Luciferin has helped scientists visually monitor the spread or growth of bacteria, disease, toxins and cancers, without sacrificing the test subjects such as mice or silkworms.
- Scientists have found, and are studying a similar, chemical in these bugs that is similar to digitalis (used to treat congestive heart failure and heart rhythm problems, increase blood flow and reduce swelling in hands and ankles.)
- The way lightning bugs reproduce and survive, has given scientists the perfect subject to study
evolutionary relationships, complex mating systems, and more.
Although we prefer that these bugs do not annoy us in our homes, we should appreciate and recognize the benefits they bring to the health of our environment, humans and food production!