Why Study Insects?

Insects are the most abundant animals on earth. More than one million different types of insects have been identified. They live in just about every situation or habitat on earth. Insects have lived on earth for more than 300 million years. As you will see, insects are just about everywhere! If you take the time to observe them carefully, you will find them very interesting.

No matter where you live or what you do, you will be able to find insects. They can live in just about any situation or climate. Nearly everybody will have some type of problem with insects at some time in their life. Some insects eat our crops or food in storage; others can bite or sting us, our livestock, or our pets. A few insects spread diseases. Some eat our clothing and other household furnishings, and some even eat the wood in our homes. Certain insects are helpful to us by producing products we can use (for example, honey), by pollinating our crops, or by attacking pest insects. However, most insects have no importance to our well-being except that they are interesting creatures to observe.

Congress is in the process of approving the monarch butterfly as our national insect. The monarch butterfly was chosen because it is a native insect, it has a wide distribution throughout most of the United States, and it is large and showy. Several states also have chosen a state insect. Can you name an insect that might be a good representative for Kentucky? Why do you think it is appropriate?

Entomologists are people who make careers of studying insects or of protecting us and our crops and other goods from insects. Because there is no end to finding new kinds of insects and learning more facts about them, many people collect and study insects as a hobby. You can become a young entomologist by working to achieve the objectives of this unit.

If your curiosity has been aroused about insects and how they affect our lives, there are several activities in this unit that will help you learn more about the subject of entomology.