Insect species are more abundant than any other type of animal, so naturally there exists many insect pests on this planet. However, the actual amount of insect pests is much lower than most people assume. In fact, the amount of insects that are classified as pests equals one percent of the total insect population. Despite this seemingly low percentage, insect pests are responsible for a tremendous amount of destruction. For example, although insect pests only account for one percent of the total insect population, thirteen percent of all crop failures are due to insect pest activity, and they also reduce forest production by nine percent. Obviously, humans decide which insects are beneficial, benign or pestiferous. Therefore, insects are only considered pests if humans decide that they are, but they often negatively interfere with human activity or the functioning of the ecosystem. There are several insects that you would probably assume are pests, but are not; and there are several insects that you would never guess are pests, but are. Deciding which insects constitute pest-hood can be difficult, as many insects are both destructive and environmentally beneficial at the same time.


Whether or not a particular insect is considered a pest or not depends on the situation. For example, flies and termites are considered pests when they inhabit a person’s home, but once these two insects are outdoors, they become beneficial. These two insects benefit the earth by recycling organic waste that collects in the environment. Many pests are invasive, such as the Balsam woolly adelgid and the Formosan termite. However, when these insects are in their native land, they typically cease to be considered pests. Most insects are either directly or indirectly beneficial to humans. Insects that are directly beneficial include pollinating insects such as bees, and predators to insect pests such as parasites. Insects that are indirectly beneficial include termites and cockroaches, as these two insects aerate soil and break down plant debris. Ultimately, all insects are, at the very least, indirectly beneficial to humans.


Which insects do you think are widely despised by humans, but nevertheless possess behaviors that are beneficial to the environment?