Author: Jiayi Chen
Editors: Ethan Liu and Lydia Ren
Artist: Aurora Chen
Insects are an inseparable part of the ecosystem because those tiny, negligible creatures play multiple roles in the environment, but how do insects interact with humans? There are many ways that humans and insects interact with each other, and sometimes these interactions are beneficial to humans through nutritional and economical means.
One major relationship between humans and insects is the producer-consumer relationship. Insects are a great food source for humans because of the nutrition (protein, vitamins, and minerals) insects can provide for humans. Some people eat roasted insects, like grasshoppers or beetles, around the globe in almost every community. In terms of economics, insects, particularly silkworms and honey bees, can produce enormous monetary values for humans. Back in around 2460 B.C, silkworms produced the most valuable product in China—silk. These insects produced 30,000 tons of raw silk annually, making China the world’s biggest supplier of silk. Today in the modern world, beekeepers can make a profit off of the honey that bees provide, with an entire business conglomerate that accompanies honey production, manufacturing, and selling.
Another important interaction between insects and humans is in gardens and farms. Insects can be used to control other insects we know as pests, and some insects can be beneficial to the soil. For example, spiders prey on other insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and moths. Predatory wasps lay eggs on tomato hornworms to prevent them from destroying the tomato, and mantis also eat other pests that appear in gardens and farms. Earthworms improve the nutrition of the soil due to its digestive system concentrating nutritional constituents around them, making it produce more nutrients than it consumes. Earthworms also loosen the soils and build small tunnels under the soil to help the plants to grow better.
To conclude, sometimes insects such as pests can be harmful and annoying to people, but other insects interact with humans mostly in positive matters and they play an important role in our economy and community. Today, many people are still working around insects for human-insect cooperation to produce products that produce economical significance to the world.
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