This week is National Insect Week so I’m going to tell you about why insects are important and how you can help them.
Insects are really important because they pollinate flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables. Without that, we wouldn’t be able to live! We wouldn’t have any food to eat and there wouldn’t be as many trees and plants to give us oxygen to breathe. Some insects that are important for pollination are bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, hoverflies, flies and beetles.
Some insects help to break down waste like dead animals, dead plants and animal poos. Without these insects the waste would build up and it would be everywhere! Insects that break down waste are called decomposers. Some insects that are decomposers include some ants, beetles and flies.
Insects are important because they provide food for lots of animals and birds. Lots of animals like hedgehogs, bats and lots of birds eat insects. A pipistrelle bat can eat up to 3000 flying insects in one night. A baby blue tit needs to eat about 100 caterpillars every day! Without insects these animals wouldn’t have enough food to eat… then the animals that eat them wouldn’t have enough food to eat and all the animals all the way up the food chain wouldn’t have enough food to eat!
Some insects eat other insects and help keep their numbers under control and stop there being too many of them. For example, ladybirds eat aphids which helps plants grow because aphids eat plants.
Even though insects are really important, 41% of insects are in danger of extinction. I think this is very, very sad. Here are some things you can do to help insects.
You can leave some of your grass to grow long so insects can live in there safely and so more flowers can grow to help pollinating insects.
You can plant flowers that pollinating insects like. It’s important to plant flowers that grow all through the year so they can always find enough food.
You can make a log pile to give insects and other minibeasts some rotting wood to live in and eat.
At the end of the summer when tall plants like sunflowers and teasels die, you can leave the hollow stems and seed heads out all through the winter so insects can hibernate in them.
You can build a pond to provide somewhere for insects to drink and to provide a home for insects that live in water.
You can have a compost heap in your garden. You can put in things like apple cores, grass cuttings (but not in No Mow May!), weeds and vegetable peelings. A compost heap will help insects by giving them food and somewhere to live. A compost heap also helps with using less chemicals in your garden because you can use the compost to feed the plants.
Don’t use pesticides in your garden because they kill insects! You can buy organic food to help insects on farms and in the countryside.
You can support some charities that help insects and you can join in with campaigns and surveys. The Wildlife Trusts have a campaign called Take Action for Insects to help people learn about helping insects. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust helps to look after bumblebees. Butterfly Conservation helps to look after butterflies and moths. Buglife helps to look after all insects and other minibeasts.
That’s how important insects are. I hope you can do something to help insects.