65 Interesting Facts About Insects

  1. So far, more than 900,000 species of insects have been discovered. According to estimates, the total number of insect species could be between 2 million and 30 million. (Source)
  2. According to estimates, there are around ten quintillion insects on earth. It means there are 1 billion insects for every human being. (Source)
  3. The oldest insect ever found is 410 million years old. The fossil of this extinct insect was discovered in Scotland, UK. The second oldest known insect is 379 million years old. (Source)
  4. Most insects have a compound eye structure with a very large view angle. (Source)
  5. Insects are devoid of lungs. Their respiratory system contains trachea (tiny tubes) that perform the function of the lungs. The oxygen enters their tissues through minute openings in their body. (Source)
  6. Coleoptera is the largest insect order, which contains more than 40% of insect species. There are more than 360,000 species of beetles and weevils in this order.
  7. The most prominent feature of insects is their six legs in three pairs. They also have a pair of antennae used as sensors of smell.
  8. Honey bees tell about the distance of food to other honey bees through special movements known as Waggle Dance.
  9. Wallace’s giant bee, the world’s largest bee, was rediscovered in 2019 from Indonesia after missing for 38 years. This black bee has a length of around 4 cm and was last seen in 1981. (Source)
  10. Bee venom or bee sting venom has shown positive effects against inflammation, arthritis, and pain. (Source)
  11. The fastest insect is the male horsefly, with a flying speed of 90 mph (145 km/h). (Source)
  12. Meadow froghopper can jump 100 times its height, up to 28 inches. (Source)
  13. Insects like butterflies, bees, ants, etc. help pollinate flowering plants.
  14. Honeybees are responsible for most of the pollination process. They pollinate more than 80% of cultivated crops. These crops include vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs, etc. (Source
    Honeybee on a flower
    Bees pollinate 80% of cultivated crops
  15. Hoverflies are the second-best pollinators after bees. They pollinate wildflowers, brassica crops, and soft fruits. These bee-like stingless flies also provide benefits by eating aphids. (Source)
  16. Ladybirds (or Ladybugs), aphid midge larvae, hoverfly larvae, and lacewings are known as farmer’s best friends as they consume aphids (whiteflies or greenflies) that are the biggest threat to cultivated plants. (Source)
  17. Springtails are near-microscopic insects that play a vital role in keeping soil healthy by eating decaying organic matter, (plant harmful) fungi, algae, and decaying roots. They do so without harming humans and living plants. (Source)
  18. According to the latest research, insects contain a large number of antibiotics. These antibiotics are more potent compared to antibiotics present in soil and plants. These powerful antibiotics, which can even fight common drug-resistant germs, have been discovered in more than 2,500 species of insects, including ants, bees, beetles, butterflies, and others. (Source)
  19. Cockroaches are between 6 to 15 times more radiation-resistant compared to humans. (Source)
  20. The fruit fly is at least 60 times more radiation-resistant than humans and over four times radiation-resistant than cockroaches.
  21. Cockroaches can survive without food for 30 days and without air for 45 minutes.
  22. An indoor farm in the Chinese city of Xichang is breeding 6 billion cockroaches annually. These cockroaches are mainly used for medicinal purposes, while the farm is under the control of AI (artificial intelligence). China has several other cockroach breeding farms, but this is the largest. (Source
  23. Assassin bugs have a unique venom system not present in any other insect. They have two different venom systems, and each contains 100 different toxins. One system is to kill prey, while the other is for defensive purposes. (Source)
  24. Silk is associated with silkworms and spiders. But several other insects (and animals) also produce silk. These include: hornets, weaver ants, glowworms, lacewings, etc. (Source)
  25. Like other animals and unlike plants and microbes, insects do sleep thanks to their central nervous system. Their sleep is governed by the circadian cycle. Sleep in insects was initially discovered in 2000. (Source)
  26. Few insects lay eggs in the decomposing body. It is the reason that the population and larval stages of these insects are studied for criminal investigation. The first incident of using insects for criminal investigation was recorded in 13th Century China. (Source)
  27. A leafcutter ant can lift 50 times its body weight. But the strongest insect is the male horned dung beetle that can pull the weight 1,141 times its body weight. (Source)
  28. More than 60% of disease genes are similar in humans and fruit flies. Due to this, these insects are used in experiments conducted for information on human-related diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and central nervous system problems.
  29. Various insects use their feces for different purposes. They use their excrement for home building, defense against enemies, facilitating reproduction, tracing location, cultivating fungi, etc. (Source)
  30. Habrobracon Wasp is more than twice as radiation-resistant as compared to fruit flies. (Source
  31. Wasps play a significant role in balancing the ecosystem. They do so by eating spiders and several pest insects, including caterpillars, greenflies, horseflies, and many others. (Source)
  32. In 1947, fruit flies became the first animal to be sent into space. These fruit flies were passengers of the US-launched V2 rocket. (Source)
  33. It is difficult to swat a fly due to its faster flicker fusion rate in vision. It is 60 flashes per second in humans and 250 flashes per second in flies. Killer flies have the fastest flicker fusion rate among all the fly species. (Source)
  34. Humans in various parts of the world eat insects. The most famous edible insects are locusts, termites, caterpillars, ants, and beetles. (Source)
  35. More than 2 billion people in different parts of the world eat insects daily. Humans have been eating insects for more than 5 million years. (Source)
  36. Insects are present everywhere on land, including in Antarctica. Belgica Antarctica (Antarctic midge) is the name of the insect present in Antarctica. 
    Belgica Antarctica
    Belgica Antarctica is the only insect in Antarctica
  37. Insects living in cold climates survive harsh winters due to the presence of antifreeze proteins in their bodies. (Source)
  38. Mayflies only live for a few hours or one day. They have non-functional mouthparts and digestive systems and die once they expend energy. 
  39. The outer shell of the ironclad beetle is strong and cannot be crushed by any boot. According to estimates, you can only make a hole inside this exoskeleton through drilling. Experiments are underway to improve the strength of military vehicles on the structure of this tough material. (Source) 
  40. termite queen can live up to 50 years, which is the longest lifespan of any insect.
  41. A termite queen can lay around 30,000 eggs in a day. (Source)
  42. Warm temperatures make crickets energetic. It is the reason that these insects sing frequently during the summer season. (Source)
  43. The sound made by grasshoppers and crickets is from rubbing their hind leg with their forewing. The process is known as stridulating.
  44. Grasshoppers have their ears on their abdomens, while the crickets have their ears on their legs.
  45. Mosquitoes bite few people more than others. According to the latest research, it depends on the type of microbiota present on the skin of a person. The type of skin bacteria is the result of our genes and environment. (Source)
  46. Malaria, dengue, and chikungunya are transmitted only by female mosquitoes.
  47. Mosquitoes are the biggest killers of humans. Every year, more than 700,000 people die from mosquito-borne diseases. (Source
  48. Planthopper decides about getting longer wings and migrating to better places after finding low sugar levels in host plants. (Source)
  49. According to lab studies, the venom of a wasp (native to Brazil and known as the Brazilian wasp) can kill cancer cells without harming normal cells. (Source)
  50. The oriental hornet, a wasp, is the only animal that can generate electricity from sunlight. (Source) 
    Mouth of oriental hornet wasp
    Oriental hornet can generate electricity from sunlight

  51. A newly discovered wasp (Clistopyga crassicaudatafrom the Amazon rainforest is considered the most dangerous of its kind due to its long and sharp stinger. This wasp’s reproduction technique is also quite strange. It lays eggs on or inside a spider after paralyzing them. (Source)
  52. Unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times. It is because wasps don’t lose their stingers to victims that happen in bees. The venom in a wasp or bee’s sting can be deadly for people allergic to their venom. (Source)  
  53. A wasp in distress sends a pheromone that makes other wasps of nearby colonies aggressive. (Source)
  54. Wasps make their nest with a paste-like pulp by mixing wood fiber with their saliva. (Source)  
  55. The wings of the African swallowtail butterfly act similarly to LEDs (light-emitting diodes) present in modern displays. (Source)
  56. Butterfly wings have inspired other technologies as well. Scientists have developed the latest nanotechnology to prepare photonic crystal devices after studying the function of microscopic structure in the wings of the Callophrys Rubi butterfly. (Source) 
  57. Male scorpionflies grasp females during the copulation process with ‘anal horns.’ This technique assists scorpionflies in prolonging the process for 70 to 140 minutes. (Source)
  58. Desert locusts are the most destructive migratory pests. There are 80 million locusts present in a single swarm that covers one square km. (Source) 
    A locust on sand
    Locusts are extremely destructive, but also nutritious

  59. According to a study, eating meat from locusts can treat heart diseases. (Source)
  60. According to scientists, eating grasshoppers, silkworms and ants can prevent cancer thanks to an abundance of antioxidants in these insects. (Source)
  61. Few insects are highly nutritious food. Insects like crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, etc. contain a large amount of protein and micronutrients. (Source)
  62. Using maggots (fly larvae) can prevent infection in severe wounds. The procedure is known as maggot therapy.
  63. House flies prefer a liquid diet. They taste the food with their feet. (Source
  64. There is a gender-specific region in the eyes of males of at least 15 species of flies and mayflies. The area is known as a “love spot” and is used by males to detect and chase females during aerial pursuits. (Source)
  65. Mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies are the best indicators of aquatic ecosystem health. These insects are extremely sensitive to pollution and can’t tolerate polluted water. (Source)

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