Insects

  • Insects make up three quarters of the animal species on earth
  • These tiny critters are essential in the biodiversity system
  • They break down organic matter and enrich soil
  • They are part of the food chain, eaten by animals and birds
  • Insects are important - Bees are essential in pollinating plants and food crops
  • Insects are strong – the Hercules beetle can lift 850 times its own body weight
  • The raft spider is the largest spider in Britain – it spends half its life under water
  • The golden orb-web spider is believed to make the strongest silk – its web can be 2 metres across
  • Insects have ears but not like human ears – some insects have ears on their legs and the hawk moth has ears in its mouth

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  • The Australian tiger beetle can run at 9km an hour to catch its prey
  • Midges are tiny blood sucking flies that can beat their wings faster than any other insect – an astonishing 1,000 beats per second
  • Some ants in some countries attack animals and can sting – but none found in the UK do
  • Ladybirds are a gardener’s best friend as they eat 5,000 aphids in their lifetime
  • The most dangerous insect on earth in the Deathstalker scorpion – it lives in Africa and its venom can kill small animals
  • Scientists consider insects the most successful species on the planet with over 9 million species, sub-species and variety of insects
  • Insects are land-lovers, rarely found in water and even more rare in the seas and oceans
  • They vary in size from microscopic to centimetres

Diagnosis

Nuisance scale: 5/10 MODERATE

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Dependant on what the insect is and where it is, e.g. bedbugs in your bed, fleas in your cushions

Hazard: 3/10 MILD

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Relatively low but some insects like wasps and bees that can sting are considered a significant health hazard. Some insects can spread disease too.

Interesting Facts

  • The biggest insects is the New Zealand giant weta (a cricket like insect), weighing in at a pound
  • The longest insect is native to Borneo – the Chan megastick measures 66cm
  • Fairyflies in Costa Rica are thought to be the smallest wasp species measuring 0.014cm long
  • Most insects breath through holes on their sides, known as spiracles
  • They have an open blood system, meaning their bodies are soaked in blood rather than having veins and arteries
  • Insects are thought to be some of the first critters to inhabit earth
  • There are more than 200 million insects to every human on the planet