Insects have existed on our planet for millions of years and are considered 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 eat larger animals’ flesh or blood.
- It’s estimated that there are 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects alive.
- The oldest cockroach 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 harmful to people. Most insects are 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. Over a ladybird’s lifetime, 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 have 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; 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 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, which is rich in protein and provides the Caterpillar with a nutritious meal.
They have 12 eyes and 4,000 muscles, and they eat mostly plants. Each species will have 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 in 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 species of flies, and 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 on those sunny days when we 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.; when they wake up in spring, they will lay their eggs on decaying matter.
House flies are low in 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. Silk be produced from the cocoons of the silkworm.
Balance – the balance of nature can depend on the activity of parasites, and their predators.
What do insects eat?
With millions of different types of insects, what they eat will vary worldwide. However, about half of insects are herbivores, which means they eat only plants.
The plant-eaters 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.
What do flies eat?
Flies are attracted to decaying organic matter such as rotting fruit, meat, garbage, etc. They feed on bacteria which they spread by excreting feces.
What do insects eat in the desert?
Insects feed on dead plants and animal carcasses. They may consume other invertebrates such as worms, mollusks, slugs, snails, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, beetles, flies, ants, bees, wasps, termites, and cockroaches.
What is a creepy fact about bugs?
Cockroaches like eating your hair! Yes, they will eat anything, including your hair, if available. If you are sleeping, they will crawl into bed with you and start eating your hair, toenails, and eyelashes, and they really love children.
Do insects have blood?
Most insects don’t have red blood cells, and their blood is yellow or green. Blood doesn’t flow through veins, arteries, or capillaries like haemolymph does. The insect’s heart pushes it around by filling its main body cavity.
What is the coolest insect?
The coolest insect is the dragonfly. It has wings that are made from two different kinds of tissue. This gives them amazing strength and flexibility. They also have eyes on both sides of their head, which allows them to see what they’re doing while flying backward.
They use this ability to hunt for food by zooming around at high speeds until they spot unsuspecting prey. Then they swoop down and grab it with their long sticky legs.
What is the largest insect?
The titan beetle can grow to be six and a half inches long and lives in tropical rain forests in South America. They feed on decaying wood below the ground. It spends just a few weeks as an adult and then flies around looking for mates by following the scent of pheromones.
Do bugs feel pain
Researchers found that insects, and fruit flies, especially, experience acute pain called “nociception.” They react similarly to humans when exposed to extreme heat, cold, and physical harm.
Insects have six legs. They have antennae on their head. Their body is covered with a hard exoskeleton, which protects them from predators. The insect uses its mouthparts for eating food. It also uses its wings to fly.
What are the smartest insects?
The most intelligent insect is the honey bee because they have an amazing ability to communicate with each other by using dance language. They use this communication system to tell others where food sources are located. This way, all bees know what direction to fly to find food.
The next smartest insect would be the termite because they are also very smart. Termites build complex mounds which protect them from predators. These mounds are made of soil mixed with wood chips and leaves.
Next would be ants because they are very organized and do everything together as a team. Ants live in colonies and share information between themselves.
What is the world’s largest stinging insect?
The Asian giant hornet is the world’s largest hornet, ranging in size from 1.5 to slightly over 2 inches long (38-50mm). The sting is extremely painful but not life-threatening to an average individual.
The Asian giant hornet is not aggressive towards humans or livestock but will sting if provoked. It can kill 30,000 bees in hours by attacking the entrance of the colony, ripping off their heads, and returning to their nest with their meal.
Do insects have brains?
The answer to this question depends on what you mean by “brain.” If you mean an organ for processing information, then yes, they do. However, if you mean a structure that controls behavior, then no, they don’t. They are not capable of learning from experience.
They cannot make decisions based on past events. They cannot plan ahead. They cannot remember anything over short periods of time. They cannot learn from mistakes. And they certainly cannot think creatively.
So while they may have sensory organs (eyes) and motor organs (legs), they lack any kind of brain.
The closest thing we know to a true brain is found in the nematode worm C. elegans. It has 302 neurons, and each neuron makes contact with hundreds of other neurons. This network of connections allows the worm to control its movements and sense its environment.
But unlike humans, worms cannot learn from experience. They cannot make decisions based on previous experiences. They cannot remember anything. And they certainly cannot learn from mistakes.
In fact, there is evidence that suggests that worms actually have no concept of error. When they bump into obstacles, they keep going forward until they hit them. So when they find themselves in a situation where they’ve made a mistake, they just keep doing whatever got them into trouble in the first place.