Insects have existed on our planet for millions of years and are considered to be one of the highest populations of creatures on earth.
Insect Facts for Kids:
- Insects have two antennae.
- Insects have six legs.
- They are invertebrates, which means they have no backbone.
- There are more than 5.5 million species of insects on our planet.
- One out of every four insects is a beetle
- Most insects hatch from eggs.
- Some like to eat a huge range of foods like roots, seeds, nectar, and wood.
- Insects like Praying mantises eat other small creatures
- Fleas and lice are parasites and like to eat the flesh or blood of larger animals.
- It’s estimated that there are 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects alive.
- The oldest cockroach that has been found was a fossil dating back 280 million years.
- Insects are the main source of food for many other animals.
- Only about 1% of the insects on earth are actually harmful to people. A majority of the insects are actually beneficial and we need them to keep balance on the earth.
Types of Insects
A ladybird (or ladybug) can reach top speeds of 24 km an hour and live for around one year. There are approximately 5000 different species of ladybug on earth.
They come in various colors and patterns, and most of us are familiar with this seven-spot ladybird. Most people seem to like them because they are very harmless to humans and beautiful to the eye.
They are also a welcome sight for farmers because they eat aphids, which are plant-eating pests. It’s estimated over a ladybird’s lifetime that they will eat 5000 of these plant-eaters.
Bees are one of the most beneficial insects.
The bumblebee helps pollinate plants and flowers that grow our food.
The honey bee has to fly around 43,000 miles to collect enough nectar to create 1 lb. of honey.
The eyes of a honeybee has hair.
Fruit flies don’t eat fruit
They are attracted to fermenting or overly ripe fruit and instead prefer to be to eat the fungus. They use this fruit for laying eggs inside also.
A female will lay anywhere from 500 to 2000 eggs in a lifetime. Each egg can take 10 to 14 days to become an adult.
A fruit fly can live anywhere between 30 and 50 days.
They love a damp environment, and you will find them hanging around drains, garbage, trash containers, and anything damp and slimy.
Dragonflies have been around for over 300 million years.
Archaeologists have discovered fossils of dragonflies with a wingspan of over 2 ½ feet.
There are over 5000 different species of dragonflies.
They are excellent flyers and catch all their prey whilst in the air. They are very efficient hunters and have been observed catching between 90% to 95% of their target prey.
They have incredible vision, and a single dragonfly can eat up to 100 mosquitoes in a day.
They have predators that like to eat them, like birds, fish, and water beetles
They have a lifespan ranging from a few weeks up to one year.
Caterpillars are insects, and they have six legs and five pairs of prolegs that look like little stumps.
A caterpillar is the larva of a butterfly
A caterpillar is the second stage in a four-stage life cycle of egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
The first thing they eat is the actual as this is rich in protein and provides the Caterpillar with a nutritious meal.
They have 12 eyes, 4,000 muscles, and they eat mostly plants. Each species of will have a favorite plant archery that they like to eat.
You can find them in your garden on the underside of leaves, in the grass, in hedges and nestles. You may notice some leaves with holes in them. This is a sure sign that a caterpillar is nearby.
Dung Beetles like to eat poop
They have round bodies, six legs, and wings that are folded under their protective covers. They come in a variety of colors glossy black, red, and metallic green.
Some of the males have horns on their heads that they use for fighting.
They are really strong flyers and can be found in various environments around the world, ranging from forests to deserts.
The roller beetle (image above) can roll poop over 1,000 times its own body weight.
Night butterflies have developed a defense against bats: they have their ears on their wings.
Many types of flying insects have developed coloration patterns that look like ‘eyes’ on their wings.
This is to help avoid a body attack and instead allow a predator to go for the wings.
The desert locust is the most destructive insect in the world.
It can eat its own weight in food on a daily basis.
When the desert locust creates a ‘swarm’ they can consume up to 20,000 tons of plants and grains each day.
Mosquitoes are one type of insect that can carry disease that is fatal to humans. Only one female mosquito out of every 1,000 can carry a harmful disease.
The praying mantis is the only insect that has the ability to turn its head.
Monarch butterflies must shed their skin four times before they have the ability to become a chrysalis.
This means they have to grow over 2,700 times their original size.
Crickets are known for their chirping, but it is only the males that can make the noise.
Baby robins love to eat earthworms and can eat as much as fourteen feet of earthworms on a daily basis.
Dragonflies can fly very fast: up to 50 mph
Some types of male spiders use their cobwebs like a musical instrument, plucking the strings as a way to attract a female spider.
What do insects do in the winter?
Insects have many different methods to help them survive the long cold winter.
Crop pests – are one type of insect that migrates in the US; for example, many will migrate from the north to the south until the spring.
Larvae – many insects will get through the winter as immature larvae. They will hide and shelter in amongst the vegetation. Others can bury themselves deep into the soil to escape the cold.
Nymphs – you do not see a lot of insects during the winter. However, the larvae of mayflies, dragonflies, and stoneflies live in waters often beneath the ice
Eggs – some insects like the Corn Rootworm lay eggs that can survive the winter.
Pupas – Some insects get through the winter in the pupal stage, then emerge as adults in the spring. For example, Moths can survive by attaching to food plant branches.
Hibernation as Adults – insects hibernate as adults. Bees can hide in the eaves and attics of houses or barns. Some butterflies hibernate in tree holes or other similar shelters during the winter.
Overall insects will adapt to survive cold temperatures
Where do flies go in the winter?
There are more than 7000 different species of flies, and unbelievable some of the smaller ones are still around during the wintertime. You may not notice them.
We tend to pay more attention to the bigger flies during those sunny days when you hear them buzzing around.
Most of these bigger flies like blue balls will hide in the cracks and crannies of homes, trees, garden fences, etc. and when they wake up in spring, they will lat their eggs on decaying matter.
House flies low on hygienic places and their larvae will feed on rotting food and other types of human waste when they have the opportunity.
What are some benefits of insects?
Pollination – Honeybees are so important in helping to pollinate crops.
Foods – Honey is an essential product made by bees that we consume as humans.
Silk – an important product is dating back to ancient China. With silk be produced from the cocoons of the silkworm.
Balance – the balance of nature can depend on the activity of parasites, their predators.
What do insects like to eat?
With millions of different types of insects, what they eat will vary across the world. However, about half of insects are herbivores, which means that they eat only plants.
The plant-eaters will eat grass, leaves, flower nectar, wood, and seeds.
Predator insects like the praying mantis will eat Beetles, crickets, and spiders. With bigger praying mantis eating smaller individuals and also caterpillars, leafhoppers, frogs, and even small birds.