You might think as you take a walk around your neighborhood that people have conquered the world. We have spread across the world. With air conditioning and heating systems we can control the temperature and climate inside of our homes. With planes and transportation, we can go just about anywhere. Unfortunately, we do not own the world. The insects have an impressive claim. They
- We’re Outnumbered: Though scientists have only scratched the surface when it comes to identifying the number of insect species, it has been estimated that for every one person on earth, there are over 200 million bugs. If you break that down into weight, for every pound of human, there is 300 million pounds of insect.
- They Live Everywhere: You can find insects living on every single continent. That’s right, even the frigid center of Antarctica is home to an insect. Belgica antarctica is a small back midge that cannot fly. This little midge is darkly colored to bring absorb sunlight. It can survive being completely frozen and can live without oxygen for several weeks. Insects have conquered every bit of land, but you can also find them in the dirt, in caves, lakes, streams, rivers, and living in the air. There is even a spider that can walk across the water and eats fish.
- The World of Insects is a Dangerous Place: Being a bug, means you are always about to be someone else’s lunch. Some insects have taken this to the extreme. Parasitoid wasps target caterpillars. Once a female wasp has found a caterpillar she swoops out of the air and inject eggs. The eggs develop inside of the caterpillar and even alter its brain so that it becomes and eating machine and never receives the signal to transform into a chrysalis. The mini parasites eat the caterpillar from the inside until they are ready to transform into adult wasps and burst free from the body of their host. Unfortunately for the parasitoid wasp, there are other parasitoid wasps whose larva will target the other wasp’s larva, and still other that will try to infect the second. There is an insect scale battle going on inside the body of unlucky caterpillars.
- Extreme Hunters: When you think of a serious predator, your mind might pull up the image of a lion or a great white shark. As spectacular as these powerful hunter appear they are not very effective. A great white shark will get only get half of what it hunts. If you get a 50% on you math test, you are failing. Lions are even worse; they pull in only a quarter of what they go after. If you are being hunted by a lion, you stand a pretty chance of escaping. If you are an insect and a dragonfly decides to go after you, you probably won’t escape. Dragonflies are some of the most successful predators ever created by nature. They get anywhere from 90 to 95% of their prey. You never want to be hunted by a dragonfly.
Even though it is easy to feel superior when you view the world from your six foot frame, insects are the true masters of the world. They are the masters of adaptation. If you’re overwhelmed with insects, give the masters of pest control a call.