Pests Can Be Helpful?!
While pests are called “pests” for a reason, in the right situations, some of them can be super beneficial to environment as a whole, or even for humans. The following are some very common pests and the surprising ways they are helpful.
The benefits of honeybees aren’t actually much of a surprise. They are extremely important to the ecosystem due to their contributions to pollination and fostering growth. Not to mention that they are also the culinary geniuses behind the liquid gold we enjoy on toast, in tea, etc.: honey! Yet, with all their benefits, when honeybees are uninvited to your space, they can be a tad pesky, which is why they are sometimes considered pests. However, due to their extreme benefits to the world as a whole, they are not officially classified as nor treated as pests and cannot be handled by pest control experts. Rather, these helpful little buzzers are protected creatures that can be handled by experienced beekeepers when they need to be relocated from an area where they are unwelcome.
While we normally attribute the benefits of pollination to honeybees and bumblebees, wasps can also contributors to this amazing process of life. While many wasps feed on other bugs, entomologist Elizabeth Murray of Cornell University says that adults will often also snack on nectar and pollen from flowers. This practice when done from flower to flower, helps to perpetuate the survival and spread of natural plants within an ecosystem.
Wasps are also known for their intelligence and impressive abilities. In fact, due to their surprising ability to recognize and differentiate a vast number of scents as well as possessing keen olfactory senses to detect even very faint or faded smells, scientists have begun successfully training groups of wasps to identify and respond to the scents of explosives for a sweet, yummy reward. If these trials become operational, it could potentially replace the use of dogs in TSA and people will begin having their suitcases sniffed by wasps. The likelihood of this occurring has increased as of late, since wasps were recently found to be intelligent enough to pass logic tests.
Spiders are easily one of the most disturbing and disliked pests, but this doesn’t exclude them from being somewhat helpful. Spiders consume loads of different types of insects, bugs, and even other arachnids. As such, they are actually an integral piece of the puzzle when it comes to controlling populations of these creatures in nature. Without them, we would have a surge in insect populations and pest issues would become even more prominent than they currently are. Regardless of this helpful aspect to their existence, almost all of us can agree that we still prefer spiders stay FAR away from us… especially in the case of poisonous spiders.
Rats and Mice
According to the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) “researchers study rats and mice because they are very similar to people genetically,” and different symptoms and human diseases can be replicated through rats and mice. So, while on the one hand, invasive, wild rodents can cause significant destruction to your home and pass detrimental diseases, they are also extremely vital contributors to scientific advances in health and safety.
Ball, J. (2016) Why Do We Experiment on Rats and Mice for Human Research?, ABC 10. KXTV. Available at: https://www.abc10.com/article/news/health/why-do-we-experiment-on-rats-and-mice-for-human-research/103-373516158 (Accessed: December 23, 2020).
Solly, M. (2019) Wasps are the First Invertebrates to Pass This Basic Logic Test, The Smithsonian Magazine. The Smithsonian Institute. Available at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/wasps-are-first-invertebrates-pass-basic-logic-test-180972148/ (Accessed: August 2020).
Wu, K. (2018) Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Smithsonian
Magazine. The Smithsonian Institution. Available at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-you-should-let-wasp-be-your-hero-today-180969521/ (Accessed: July 2020).