Almost all living things on Earth ultimately get their energy from the sun. Plants turn sunlight into energy through photosynthesis, and almost everything else eats either plants or plant-eaters.
Insects are very good at turning plant energy into animal energy. While a cow turns 10 kilograms of plants into just 1 kilogram of beef, insects will convert the same amount of plant matter into 9 kilograms of bug meat.
Insects are therefore very efficient at transferring energy up the food chain. They are a critical component in the diets of birds, foxes, and even bears.
Unlike other plant-eating species, insects also play a key role in ensuring there will be more plants to eat. Insects that forage in flowers, like bees and butterflies, carry pollen from one plant to another, helping plants to produce seeds that will become more food for many species.
There are almost a million species of insects on Earth, and virtually all of them are harmless to humans. While many people’s first reaction to seeing a bug is to reach for pesticides, a place without insects is a place in serious ecological disarray. Give the bugs a chance, and watch life return to your backyard ecosystem.